GASIFIER: Why did SHDC waste £10,500?

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The article about the gasifier protest at Sutton Bridge highlights the important issue of the extremely poor fire safety record of biomass plants.

The planners at South Holland District Council failed to consider evidence supplied on this issue at the planning committee meeting that approved the EPSB gasifier in April 2013.

One councillor dismissed the evidence given as “anecdotal”, demonstrating she had not read the background papers.

Thank goodness for the tenacity of Shirley Giles who took the council to court and got the planning approval quashed.

Anyone who attended the committee and witnessed the poor quality of the debate will not wonder that the court found it to be flawed. The question remains: Why did SHDC waste nearly £10,500 on legal costs trying to defend an unlawful planning permission?

Lest they claim again that fires at biomass plants are based on anecdotal evidence I bring the following facts to your readers’ attention.

A number of biomass plants have had more than one fire within a short time. Crow Edge in Yorkshire in February and June of this year. Ironbridge in Shropshire had fires in October 2013 and February 2014.

Port Tyne and Wear in October 2011 and October 2013. Other blazes at Biomass facilities include Hexham Egger in June 2013 and Tilbury in February 2012.

These fires are described in the media as “infernos” with belching smoke and often require fire services from several counties to battle for days to get them under control.

The smoke and the smell from the latest Crow Edge fire is reported to have been visible up to 17 miles away. Local residents were warned to keep their doors and windows closed.

Residents of Sutton Bridge oppose the madness of building a 48MW biomass electricity producing incinerator burning 420,000 tonnes of wood a year next to a gas fired power station and close to the site of a proposed even larger one.

The members of the planning committee at South Holland District Council may chose to bury their heads in the sand and ignore inconvenient facts. We the residents will not.

I call on all local people to join the protest on Saturday, July 26.

Brian Collins-McDougall

Sutton Bridge