MIDDLEWICH MP Fiona Bruce has expressed concerns to the Secretary of State over how a planned energy from waste plant in Lostock will ‘directly affect’ Middlewich residents.

Three members of Parliament have joined together to oppose TATA Chemicals’ plans to increase its permitted maximum power output from the imminent energy from waste plant in Lostock Gralam.

The firm currently has planning permission, granted in 2012, to open the energy from waste plant and has now submitted an application to increase the agreed permitted output by 50 per cent – from 60MWe to 90MWe.

Now Esther McVey MP, whose Tatton constituency covers Lostock, along with her fellow conservative Fiona Bruce MP (Congleton) and Labour’s Mike Amesbury MP (Weaver Vale), has written to Greg Clark MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Ms McVey urged the Secretary of State to reject the application, saying the increase in power output is a ‘step too far’.

She said: “I would urge the Secretary of State to reject this application given that what was allowed in the 2012 permission was already past the limit of what was acceptable to most local residents, in what is, in large part a densely populated area.

“This increase is a step too far and if the Minister is minded to consider the application, I would urge further detail, a new Environmental Impact Assessment and concrete guarantees, about what is being burnt, be sought before the application be allowed.

“In terms of reassurance of the public, I am concerned that the Department has taken the view that no new Environment Impact assessment is required, despite a significant increase in power output , temperature and steam generation at the plant.

“There has been a number of new residential properties built in the area since the original consent was granted and the effect on those residents should be covered in a new EIA, given the time that has elapsed since the one provided with the 2012 application and this request for variation of output.”

Mr Amesbury and Ms Bruce also cited concerns over an increase in HGV movements, unsuitable road infrastructure, and air pollution.

Ms Bruce raised concerns on the behalf of her Middlewich constituents, stating that the plant, situated around five miles away at the opposite end of the A530, would directly affect the community.

She said: “I am the Member of Parliament for Congleton which includes communities such as Middlewich that are directly affected by the proposed waste incinerator at Lostock.

“My constituents have expressed their concerns to me regarding the impact of this proposed incinerator on them.

“Of particular concern to my constituents is the likelihood that most of the additional 276 HGV journeys to feed the incinerator will travel around the key A54/B5309 roundabout in Middlewich and along the B5309 out of town. These roads are single carriageways and are narrow in places. There is already a serious traffic congestion problem in the Middlewich area.”

Fraser Ramsay, TATA’s strategic projects leader, said: “TATA would like to confirm that the Variation Application does not seek any changes to the approved design and layout, traffic movements or waste types and does not affect the previously reported environmental impacts. Notably, the SEP will comply with the conditions restricting HGV movements and prohibiting certain fuel types imposed by the original consent from 2012. This allowed BEIS to conclude that a revised Environmental Impact Assessment was not required.

“TATA are currently investing heavily in the long-term future of the existing Lostock production facilities, with the new SEP being built on the site of the old coal-fired power station. The increased electricity generation will contribute to the urgently needed national capacity, using waste that conforms with the original consent. If this variation is granted, the plant will generate more energy per tonne of waste fuel than the original consent.

“We understand that a small number of the local community have concerns and have submitted representations to BEIS regarding the Variation Application, along with the three local MP’s. In accordance with the BEIS consultation process, we will shortly respond to these representations in the public domain.”