Protesters call for Prime Minister to scrap power plant plan

The No Monster Incinerator in Washington group, fFrom left David Tatters, Paul Gibson, Jen Loader, George Sanderson and Tracey Young.
The No Monster Incinerator in Washington group, fFrom left David Tatters, Paul Gibson, Jen Loader, George Sanderson and Tracey Young.

Campaigners against plans for a new power plant on land close to Sunderland’s Nissan site have called for the Prime Minister to step in.

The ‘No Monster Incinerator in Washington’ group opposes the proposal for the scheme on the Hillthorn Farm Enterprise Zone.

The scene of the proposed development.

The scene of the proposed development.

Now committee member David Tatters has written to Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, outlining the group’s concerns about the impact the ‘Sunderland Renewable Energy Centre’ would have on in a number of areas, including health, traffic and the environment.

Developer Rolton Kilbride insists that the impact would be minimal.

But, Mr Tatters said: “We really hope that people will listen to what we have to say and stop these plans.

“There are a number of reasons why this plant should not be built.

We really hope that people will listen to what we have to say and stop these plans

David Tatters

“The proposed development would affect me and my family’s expectation of a decent quality of life where we live.

“Quality of life for people living near this plant would be affected by the proximity to homes and schools, increased traffic and exhaust pollution, among other factors.

“It would be a disastrous development for Washington and we do not want this imposed on us.”

The group also fears about emissions from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), and about the possible impact the gasification plant would have on businesses, schools and nearby residents.

They say those concerns were raised further following an article in the national press last week which revealed that up to 35,000 HGVs in the UK may be emitting dangerous levels of toxic gas because hauliers are fitting illegal cheat devices that disable pollution control systems.

The group will hold a meeting next Thursday from 7pm at The Stella Maris, in Windlass Lane, Washington, with residents of Sunderland and Washington invited to listen to their views and have a say.

Rolton Kilbride insists that the energy centre will use clean, safe and proven gasification technology to produce energy from waste after recycling has taken place.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “We recognise that people may have concerns about the project. It is also understandable that they will raise them publicly, which is consistent with the planning process.

“We have always welcomed enquiries, and are happy to continue answering questions on the technology and the project.

“People can also find out more information on the project from our website: www.roltonkilbride.co.uk/sunderland.”

The plant would help to power Nissan if the proposals get the go-ahead by council bosses.

It 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 application sent to Sunderland City Council shows it would include a visitor and education area, staff welfare and offices, a weighhouse and gateshouse, turbine hall, air cooled condenser fans and staff and visitor car parking.

It would also feature a 57-metre chimney and silos for ash and lime, with 35 full-time equivalent jobs created.