GASIFIER: No confidence in the planning process

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At a planning committee meeting on April 17, Coun Christine Lawton stated that if there were problems with safety at biomass incinerators she would be concerned about the proposed Sutton Bridge incinerator.

She then dismissed concerns about fires and explosions at biomass facilities raised by a speaker against the application, claiming it was an “anecdotal account”.

In fact the planning officers and committee members had previously been provided with evidence of the poor safety record of biomass incinerators in a written objection.

If Ms Lawton failed to read the submissions for such an important application as this incinerator that will blight the lives of residents she is in my view negligent.

If she did read the document, was she deliberately trying to undermine the case against the application when she spoke of an anecdotal account?

It is not just opponents of the biomass industry who are worried about explosions and fires at incinerators and places where biomass is stored. “Canadian Biomass” – a trade magazine for the biomass industry – warns about fires and explosions due to spontaneous combustion at biomass plants.

Interested readers who search on the Internet can find the article.

In England we had the huge fires at the Tilbury biomass incinerator in Essex in February 2012 and three months earlier at Tyne Dock in South Shields.

The incinerator at Sutton Bridge will be close to a gas-powered fire station so the potential risks from fire and explosions are very serious indeed.

Local residents are worried and we have every reason to be. We can have no confidence in the planning process when a member of the committee dismisses genuine concerns in such an offhand and ill-informed manner.

Brian Collins-McDougall

Sutton Bridge