What people say it’s like living in shadow of an incinerator
● into her home and bedroom, having previously enjoyed looking out at the trees behind her home and the site.
She said she was also alarmed to discover an unidentified black substance in a filter she left in a bowl to catch rainwater overnight.
Sheena she added that she could hear a ‘constant droning’ from the plant ‘24 hours a day’.
Other noises include a ‘high pitch sound’ that ‘doesn’t seem to be so bad recently’ and the sound of containers occasionally being dropped.
She said: “Obviously at night you want to sleep but you can’t because there’s a low droning.”
Sheena, a supply teacher, single parent to two boys and businesswoman, also keeps her windows and doors shut to keep out the smell.
She said: “Well the smell is like rotting rubbish – that’s what it is.
“If I open the front door it can be right outside my front door and it’s like walking into a solid door of smell and I have to hold my nose and walk to the car and it wafts into the car. “It’s not every day but not far off. “Today I could smell it in Weston Village.
“They’ve got deodorisers that are supposed to mask the smell but that makes it even worse.”
According to an air quality and noise report filed by Halton Borough Council to the Environment Agency and obtained by the Weekly News via a Freedom Of Information request, air pollution has reduced since before the incinerator was turned on, comparing data for nitrogen dioxide and PM10 particulate emissions in 2012 and 2015.
However, the data has no PM2.5 data for before 2015 because it was not mandatory until 2015 so a comparison is not possible and the report did not contain PM10 figures for 2011, 2013 or 2014.
The closest available PM2.5 data is from Weston Brine in 2012 when the level of PM2.5 was slightly lower than in 2015, indicating a small rise.
And although there are limits under the terms of the plant’s environmental permit for most types of emissions, according to a Viridor 2014 annual performance report for the plant published on the What Do They Know public disclosure website, the incinerator is not subject to limits for certain types of pollution, including dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Noise surveys found that the incinerator was operating within limits but that the overall ambient noise measured on Sandy Lane east and on Russell Road at night exceeded the limits, but the survey attributed this to expressway traffic.
The noise survey contained a table of the volumes exhibited by other phenomena for comparison.
Night-time limits for the site vary between 50 and 53 decibels, which the table ranks as being similar to being on the border of the categories for inside a typical office or inside a car .
But with the scale of the project as it is and the masses of complaints and well-documented legitimate concern such as with the hydrated lime leak, there could be speculation as to whether the site could now become a bogeyman in residents’ minds, with any unexpected phenomena being attributed to its operation, such as the mysterious white spots that appeared around Weston in early December and despite a strong resemblance to bird poo or paint, were a source of concern that they could have been linked.
A recent drone or UFO sighting reported by the mother of a young child in the area also triggered speculation that a mysterious craft could have been monitoring pollution.
Viridor has said it constantly monitors the site and takes action to resolve issues raised by residents.
In a statement to the Weekly News, Roy Griffin, Viridor’s head of operations for the North, said: “The facility has been built in accordance with the planning consent and is operating within the specified planning and permit conditions.
“We take each complaint seriously, these are logged onto our system and where detailed information is provided including, dates and times, they are investigated.
“We continue to respond to noise complaints and have resolved specific issues when they have arisen.
“In addition, we have conducted numerous noise surveys across various locations and times of day, all of which have concluded we are operating within our allowable limits.
“Feedback in relation to lighting has been taken on board and acted on including switching numerous lights within the sites boundary to either timers or motion sensors as well as changing the bulb types.
“Again lighting surveys have been conducted and conclude we are compliant with our planning permission.
“Emissions from the facility are rigorously monitored to demonstrate compliance with our operating consents and all tests show we are well within the limits stated in our permit and planning conditions.
“Odour monitoring is completed on a daily basis at a range of locations and the results do not indicate that plant operations are producing off site odours, we do not recognise any cheesy smells arising from this facility.
“The steam plume rising intermittently from the facility is part of normal operations and can be expected to rise vertically and travel away from the site boundary, this is more noticeable in cold conditions.
“Since we started operations we have engaged with the community through a number of routes including the local liaison forum, the website and newsletters, as well as logging, listening and taking action on feedback and complaints.”
The energy-from-waste incinerator on Picow Farm Road in Weston Point, Runcorn