Controversial plans for an £200 million waste facility at Longridge Road have been given the go-ahead at a meeting of Lancashire County Council’s Planning Committee.Advertisement
Longridge Road Energy Centre (LREC) will be located immediately off junction 31A of the M6 motorway on the Red Scar Industrial Estate, east of Preston.
The energy recovery facility will have the capacity to process up to 395,000 tonnes of residual waste – the waste left over from households and businesses after recycling has taken place – every year and use it as a fuel to generate low carbon energy.
Development company Miller Turner say it will generate enough energy to power every home in Preston.
Read more: Longridge Road Incinerator could be built and burning waste by 2023
However opponents to the plant raised concerns over climate change and congestion around the site.
Residents Against Longridge Road Energy Centre tweeted: “It would appear we don’t have a #climateemergency in Lancashire. Councillors see to think it’s a choice between incineration and landfill… Not to mention the £1.6m in business rates. Not the best #Lancashireday.”
Miller Turner say LREC offers an alternative to landfill and will generate up to 500 jobs. 40 of these will be permanent posts at the plant, with the rest of the workers being required for the construction period.
A spokesperson said: “LREC has a number of key advantages over other energy recovery facilities in the U.K.. The location positions LREC in the midst of the key population centres in Lancashire and the surrounding area, minimising the distance required for waste transportation.
“Its location close to population centres also brings other benefits. LREC has been carefully located and designed to boost the growth of the local economy and to create jobs for local people. The plant is designed to provide electricity directly to commercial and industrial companies in the locality. LREC is the only proposed plant for Lancashire to offer this benefit.
“By supplying electricity directly to the companies, power can be provided securely and at lower cost, helping to boost the competitiveness of connected businesses.
“This is expected to help secure existing local jobs but also strengthen the attraction of the area to companies looking for a new location to set up and create new jobs.
“Any surplus energy not sold directly to local companies will be distributed via the public electricity grid. The location of LREC on the edge of Preston and close to proposed new housing sites also maximises the potential opportunity to connect LREC to any future municipal district heating system designed to heat local homes.
“Crucially, LREC will divert residual waste away from being buried in landfill. By using this waste as a fuel to generate electricity, LREC will turn a problem into an opportunity, while also eliminating harmful methane emissions, a greenhouse gas many times more damaging to the environment than CO2.
“With Lancashire alone currently sending the majority of its residual waste to landfill each year, LREC has the potential to radically reduce this. In so doing, the operation of LREC is expected to save a net figure of 77,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to taking 28,500 cars off the roads each year. “
Read more: Changes to recycling mean even less will go to landfill
Commenting on the approval of the planning application, Gregory Ewing, Chief Executive Officer for Miller Turner, said: “We are naturally pleased that our hard work, experience and track record of successfully delivering sustainable energy projects has been recognised with this approval. We now look forward to commencing construction of the project within the next six to twelve months.”
“We are confident that LREC will offer significant benefits to Preston and Lancashire and that it will operate without issue. We have worked hard to engage with the local community, holding a number of public consultation events as well as directly contacting well over 5,000 homes and businesses.”
“We want to continue this and be a good neighbour to the community. We plan to set up a community liaison group to operate throughout the construction and operation of LREC, offer an annual £60,000 community fund for local projects, support local people to apply for the jobs and apprenticeships created as well as opening a visitor centre for the facility.”
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