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Barton biomass plant appeal begins

Trafford councils appeal against decision to grant planning to 70m Barton biomass plant takes place at High Court in Manchester this week

Trafford councils two-day appeal hearing against communities secretary Eric Pickles decision to grant planning permission for the proposed 70 million Barton biomass plant is underway.

The hearing, which takes place at the High Court in Manchester, is expected to last two days (February 10-11).

An artists' impression of Peel Energy's proposed Barton Renewable Energy Plant

An artists’ impression of Peel Energy’s proposed Barton Renewable Energy Plant

The proposed Barton Renewable Energy Plant in Davyhulme, Manchester, is being developed by renewable energy firm Peel Energy and would have the capacity to process 200,000 tonnes per year of wood primarily commercial and municipal waste wood.

Trafford council originally turned down planning permission for the 20MW plant in 2011, but this decision was overturned by Mr Pickles following a nine-day public inquiry in November 2012.

This decision has upset both Trafford council and air quality campaigners, who claim that fine particle emissions from the plant which is close to an Air Quality Management Area will worsen local air quality.

Air quality

As such, the Breathe Clean Air Group has submitted evidence to the appeal, in which it claims that the plant is not located on a site identified by the local Waste Management Plan. It also claims that the development does not use Best Available Techniques (BATs), putting it in breach of EU law.

However, Manchester-based Peel Energy disputes these claims and has stated that the plant location was selected due to its proximity to existing infrastructure, which means it would enable the electricity generated to be distributed to the National Grid by an underground cable.

And, the firm which is the renewable energy subsidiary of property and holdings firm Peel Group says the plant will help the UK meet renewable energy targets, create jobs and help avoid resources being sent to landfill.

The plant has also been issued with a permit by the Environment Agency, with construction work expected to start this year before full operations commence in 2016. Before the delays in gaining planning approval, it was originally expected that the plant would be operational by mid-2014.

Peel Energy also has planning permission to build a 175,000 tonnes per year capacity waste wood biomass plant at Ince Park in Cheshire.

The development is a joint venture with Covanta Energy, which had also been planning to build a 850,000 tonnes per year capacity energy-from-waste facility at the Ince Park site, but Covanta has been involved in legal dispute with the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA) involving the development.

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