Developer scraps plans for 'monster incinerator' in Washington

Plans for a new renewable energy centre in Washington – dubbed a ‘monster incinerator’ by protestors – have been withdrawn.

Monday, 17th August 2020, 12:16 pm
Updated Monday, 17th August 2020, 3:06 pm

Developer Rolton Kilbride Limited (RKL) says it has scrapped the proposals after reaching a new agreement with Sunderland City Council bosses.

The proposed gasification plant, which would create energy from waste using high temperatures to break down materials without combustion, was planned for the Hillthorn Industrial Park near Nissan and intended to provide energy for the car factory.

Rolton Kilbride says the technology has been ‘tried and tested’ in other countries including Japan, but residents raised concerns over the site’s proximity to houses and schools.

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Protesters outside the Stadium of Light

More than 10,000 people signed petitions in opposition and MP Sharon Hodgson raised the plans in the Commons.

Sunderland City Council’s planning department had recommended the scheme be given the go-ahead, arguing its negative points were ‘demonstrably outweighed by its benefits’.

The developer appealed against the decision and a hearing was launched at the Stadium of Light in January, to examine the council’s decision.

Protestors at the site (from left) David Tatters, Paul Gibson, Jen Loader, George Sanderson and Tracey Young

It was expected to last up to two weeks, but was put on hold after news the council was in ‘commercial talks’ with RKL that could see the appeal withdrawn.

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Now the firm has confirmed it has withdrawn its plans after a new regeneration scheme was agreed with the local authority.

The latest plans for the site will be part of a larger suite of development, to be announced by Sunderland City Council tomorrow.

A view across the site

RKL has completed the first phase of a feasibility study into an energy scheme which will feed into the proposals.

Managing director Andrew Needham said: "Throughout the application process, we have engaged positively with both Sunderland City Council and local stakeholders, working to adapt and respond to their views on our proposals.

"We understand that alternative proposals for the site are now in play and have withdrawn the appeal on that basis, albeit that renewable energy continues to be vital for Nissan.”

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