Council cites ‘acid rain’ concerns over EfW plant development

UK: 260,000t/yr facility will have a capacity of 23MWe if approved

n artist's impression of the facility
n artist's impression of the facility

A local authority has said it is opposed to the development of an energy-from-waste plant in a neighbouring municipality due to concerns over "acid rain".

Planning chiefs in East Northamptonshire Council last week issued a strong objection to the proposals by EfW plant developer Corby Limited.

The EfW developer relaunched plans for its facility on the Willowbrook Industrial Estate, to be known as the Energy Recovery Centre, in February.

The developer has planning consent for a smaller facility but wants to increase its capacity from 195,000 tonnes per year to 260,000t/yr of RDF and municipal solid wastes.

The plant’s capacity would also increase from the consented 16MWe, up to a total of 23MWe.

However, at a meeting last Wednesday, the council’s planning committee agreed with a recommendation from planning officers that the authority object to the plans. 

The committee’s chief environmental concerns relate to the potential increased acid deposition load on the nearby SSSI at Weldon Park, which is currently in an "unfavourable" but "recovering" condition, according to wildlife regulator Natural England. 

But according to Environmental Resources Management (ERM), the consultants which prepared an environmental statement for the proposed EfW plant on behalf of Corby, the potential "acid deposition" would have "no significant effect" on the SSSI.

The council is also objecting to the development on heritage grounds as the site is only 750 metres away from Kirby Hall – a Grade I listed house with Grade II park and gardens, while Deene Park, a Grade II building, lies 2.5 kilometres away. 

The authority further believes that the EfW’s 75-metre chimney stacks are exceptionally tall and will create a "noticeable addition to the skyline", which will have a significant negative visual impact. 

The original scheme was approved by Northamptonshire County Council in 2016, the authority also has the final say on the expanded project. According to plans lodged with the county council, the facility will increase its overall height from up to 22 metres to up to 39.5 metres.

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