MP calls for answers over incinerated waste
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