9,000 sign petition against controversial waste-fed power plant in Washington

Washington Incinerator protesters petition hand over.
Washington Incinerator protesters petition hand over.

More than 9,000 people have signed a petition opposing plans for a controversial new power plant in Washington.

Developer Rolton Kirkbride wants to build Sunderland Renewable Energy Centre on the Hillthorn Farm Enterprise Park, close to Nissan.

Washington Incinerator protesters petition hand over. 
Resident Tracey Young hands petition over to Councillor Jill Fletcher with Councillor John Kelly

Washington Incinerator protesters petition hand over. Resident Tracey Young hands petition over to Councillor Jill Fletcher with Councillor John Kelly

The plant would be able to take 215,000 tonnes of non-recyclable, non-hazardous waste a year and generate 27 megawatts of electricity by gasification.

The firm insists the scheme is safe and the environmental impact will be minimal.

But local residents have organised an online campaign against the project, setting up a Facebook page and website noincineratorwashington.org

Now they have handed over the petition to Washington North ward councillors John Kelly and Jill Fletcher to be presented to the council before the application is considered by the council’s planners.

There is a lot of strength of feeling around the plant.

Coun John Kelly

Tracy Young, who handed the petition over, said: “People feel like they have not been informed properly. There are too many questions left unanswered.”

The announcement has united residents from across the town, she said: “We have all come together as a group.

“This petition is the first stage of our campaign.”

Coun Kelly said he could only think of one issue which had united people in the same way in his ten years representing the ward.

“There is a lot of strength of feeling around the plant,” he said.

“The only other thing I can think of was the closure of Usworth Comprehensive School.”

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson has also come out in opposition to the plan.

She has written to Sunderland City Council highlighting concerns over the impact on traffic, the environment and residents.

To have your say on the plans, visit www.sunderland.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OY9TXMBB00Q00