Protestors submit 9,000-strong petition over controversial waste-fuelled power plant in Washington

Protest at Sunderland Civic Centre
Protest at Sunderland Civic Centre

Protestors campaigning against plans for a controversial new power plant in Washington have seen their petition presented to council bosses.

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

We believe that the people of Sunderland should have the right to ask questions about what the company is planning.

Veronica Birrell

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

But residents say nothing on such a scale has been tested and they are concerned about its proximity to homes and schools and the volume of traffic it will generate.

They have organised an online campaign against the project, setting up a Facebook page and website

Washington North ward councillors John Kelly and Jill Fletcher presented a 9,000-plus petition opposing the plans before last night’s full council meeting.

The deadline for submitting views on the plans expires at the close of business on Friday, November 24.

Veronica Birrell is one of the campaigners behind the petition.

She urged anyone interested in the scheme not to miss out on the chance to have their say.

“We believe that the people of Sunderland should have the right to ask questions about what the company is planning,” she said.

Letters about the scheme had gone out in recent weeks to areas which had not originally been informed of the plans.

“The residents of Barmston and Sulgrave have received letters from the planning department at the council, informing them of this plan and giving them 21 days from the date of the letter to get their comments and objections in,” she added.

“We are anxious that objections may be received too late.”

Rolton Kilbride Managing Director Andrew Needham said: “There have been many claims made about the operation and management of the Renewable Energy Centre.

“Rolton Kilbride has been clear from the outset – our claims are backed by independent and verified consultant advice.

“We are not against those objecting to our scheme but allegations must be backed by proper evidence.”

For more information on the company’s proposal, visit

To have your say on the application, visit