Preston waste incinerator plant poised to get the green light

Plans to build an energy recovery incinerator on the outskirts of Preston have been recommended for approval.

Lancashire County Council planning officers have said that the facility - on the Red Scar industrial estate off Longridge Road - should be given the green light, subject to conditions.

How the proposed plant could look (courtesy of Miller Turner)

How the proposed plant could look (courtesy of Miller Turner)

But it is councillors on the authority’s development control committee who will have the final say when the application is brought before them next Wednesday.

Members recently approved a similar scheme in Heysham, after making a site visit to a working incinerator in Staffordshire in order to help inform their decision on both the Heysham and Preston proposals.

Infrastructure development company Miller Turner wants permission to build a plant on the Red Scar site which will process almost 400,000 tonnes of non-hazardous, residual waste each year - burning it to create energy.

The 23-acre development – which would lie around a mile south of Grimsargh – would include two, 85m-high chimneys, a waste storage bunker and ash storage room.

The proposal has drawn more than 420 objections.

A spokesperson for the Residents Against Longridge Road Energy Centre said that the group had been expecting the proposal to be recommended for approval - but that they were now preparing their case to persuade councillors to come to a different conclusion next week.

“We are in the middle of a climate emergency which everybody is now waking up to and yet the county council wants to give permission for another incinerator. This will not be a green facility.

“As we become better at recycling, there will be less fuel for the plant and a committee of MPs have said that the country is at overcapacity when it comes to this type of development.

“To be honest, I’m not hopeful that we will succeed in stopping this, but I feel we owe it to future generations to give it our best shot,” the spokesperson added.

In papers to be presented to committee members, planning officers conclude that the development would not be “incongruous”, in spite of its size - because it would be located in an industrial area.

They add that the environmental permit which will be have to be obtained separately in order to operate the facility means that “it should be assumed that there are unlikely to be any unacceptable adverse impacts on the environment...or local residents.” Committee members will also hear that much of the energy generated by the plant will be classed as low carbon.

The £200m would be capable of generating 42 megawatts of electricity each year - enough to power 109,000 homes.

It is expected to generate 186 HGV vehicle movements every weekday once operational.