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County Cllr reacts to Secretary of States decision to approve incinerator

cllr gibson
Cllr Julie Gibson

This decision will have a very damaging and dangerous effect on the local area”.

Lancashire County Councillor, Julie Gibson, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change has reacted with dismay to the decision of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (Michael Gove MP) to reject calls to “call in” the planning application for a medical waste incinerator on Simonswood Industrial Estate for a Public Inquiry. This means Lancashire County Council can now progress with granting planning permission (subject to completion of a section 106 legal agreement).

Councillor Gibson said: “Along with residents, campaigners and fellow local politicians I raised serious concerns about this incinerator when it was coming before the planning committee. Both Knowsley Council and West Lancashire Borough Council, led by the then leader Ian Moran, raised objections to the siting of the incincerator. It is earmarked to accept up to 4,000 tonnes of waste a year, but its proximity to a local school and major housing conurbations is a real worry, particularly given the fire that occurred back in March 2022. This could have very real effect on all residents of West Lancashire.”

She continued “The planning documentation includes a quote from Public Health England that the potential effect for people living close by is likely to be small. But what do they mean by “small?” How is this measured? This does not answer the concerns from many residents who will be living in the shadow of the incinerator. An Early Day Motion submitted to Parliament back in February 2022 raised concerns about the management of the site and the quality of the road network that will now see an increase in HGV traffic.

Cllr Gibson said: “In West Lancashire, we already have one hazardous landfill site at Whitemoss and as the local Cllr for the area I am forever dealing with concerns from residents who live nearby. And yet here we are with the threat of another potentially dangerous facility on our doorstep. I am aware that there must be a way of dealing with such waste but citing these facilities so close to residential areas is a dangerous step backwards. The Secretary of State has given no thought to the effect on local people – another example of a Tory Government that is out of touch, out of ideas and hopefully soon to be out of office.

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