MP calls for answers over in­cin­er­ated waste

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page -

HAL­TON MP Derek Twigg has been press­ing for answers over why a Run­corn in­cin­er­a­tor was al­lowed to burn more waste than set by its en­vi­ron­men­tal per­mit.

The Labour MP is­sued sev­eral ques­tions for clar­i­fi­ca­tion over why the en­ergy-from-waste plant op­er­ated by Viri­dor in We­ston Point was able to burn more than 890,000 tonnes, com­pared to the maximum of 850,000 tonnes maximum stip­u­lated by the fa­cil­ity’s en­vi­ron­men­tal per­mit.

Mr Twigg put the queries to En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Michael Gove and re­ceived answers from min­is­ter David Rut­ley MP.

The ques­tions came af­ter the Weekly News re­vealed fig­ures in Viri- ● dor’s an­nual per­for­mance re­port show­ing that it burned 890,933 tonnes of waste in 2017, more than the maximum amount al­lowed ac­cord­ing to its en­vi­ron­men­tal per­mit.

Mr Rut­ley said the maximum amount in the per­mit is 850,000 tonnes per year and that this fig­ure was based on pre­dic­tions about how long the plant would be shut off for main­te­nance and re­pairs, which turned out to be a shorter pe­riod of time than an­tic­i­pated, there­fore al­low­ing for more rub­bish to be burned.

He said the ex­tra 40,000 tonnes would not have had ‘an un­ac­cept­able im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment’.

His com­ments echoed those of the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, which is­sued the en­vi­ron­men­tal per­mit.

The in­cin­er­a­tor, which is the UK’s largest and pro­vides power for Inovyn’s en­ergy-in­ten­sive chem­i­cal works, has proved con­tro­ver­sial among some res­i­dents who have claimed that it causes pol­lu­tion, and has cre­ated is­sues such as bad odour, noise and ex­cess steam.

Mr Rut­ley said: “The maximum through­put of waste spec­i­fied in the per­mit for Viri­dor’s Run­corn en­ergy from waste site is 850,000 tonnes per year.

“This was based on the pre­dicted num­ber and length of plant stop­pages for in­spec­tion, main­te­nance and re­pair.

“In 2017 this rou­tine shut down was shorter than ex­pected, and the En­vi­ron­ment Agency au­tho­rised a tem­po­rary in­crease of through­put on a trial ba­sis.

“The to­tal through­put of waste for 2017 was 890,933 tonnes.

“This in­crease will not have led to an un­ac­cept­able im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Viri­dor will need to ap­ply for a per­mit vari­a­tion in or­der to per­ma­nently in­crease its an­nual through­put of waste.

“Any such per­mit vari­a­tion is likely to be sub­ject to pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

“There has been no change in fuel com­po­si­tion from that spec­i­fied in the per­mit in 2009.”

Mr Twigg was ap­proached for com­ment.

The en­ergy-from-waste in­cin­er­a­tor in We­ston Point

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