Plans for Washington 'incinerator' rejected after crunch meeting at Stadium of Light in Sunderland

Plans to build a ‘monster incinerator’ near the Nissan car plant in Washington have been rejected.

Friday, 19th July 2019, 10:27 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st July 2019, 1:39 pm

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

But members of the Planning and Highways Committee were unconvinced, pointing to the application’s conflict with the draft Core Strategy and Development Plan, which is awaiting government approval.

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Protesters outside the Stadium of Light, where a planning meeting is being over a controversial gasification plant

Speaking at a packed meeting at the Stadium of Light, Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson said: “My residents live cheek-by-jowl with Washington’s industry, however communities feel they’re becoming victims of Washington’s success.

“Why can’t [the incinerator] be built well away from homes and schools?

“The people of Washington do not want this built near where we live and work and some communities already suffer because of nearby industry.”

Speaking after the meeting, the MP also said she thought the plans stood a good chance of being rejected a second time if the decision was appealed.

Protesters outside the Stadium of Light, where a planning meeting is being over a controversial gasification plant

Controversial proposals for the ‘gasification plant’ at Hillthorn Farm, which plans said could to provide power for the nearby Nissan car plant, were filed almost two years ago.

Electricity would be generated by ‘gasification’, with high temperatures used to break down waste without combustion, a method which applicant Rolton Kilbride has previously defended, calling it ‘tried and tested’, with decades of use in Japan and other countries.

But the firm’s claims were not enough to convince opponents, who raised concerns including the impact on traffic, health and air quality, as well as the safety of the technology.

All councillors on the panel voted to reject the plans, except Coun Mel Speding, who abstained

Following the decision, a Rolton Kilbride spokeswoman said: “Naturally, we are very disappointed with the committee’s decision.

“The application was subject to the most thorough scrutiny by the authority and recommended for approval.

“The proposed facility would have provided many distinct benefits to the local economy, as well as the wider North East region.

“We will be reviewing all available options in due course.”