MORE than 7,500 people from Middlewich have signed the petition against the proposed incinerator in the town.

CHAIN presented a petition to Clr Margaret Simon, Mayor of Cheshire East, at a meeting on Friday.

In a speech to supporters, chairman of CHAIN, Brian Cartwright, thanked the mayor for giving the group the opportunity to display its level of objection against the plans.

He said: “CHAIN and around 40 residents of Middlewich have been working extremely hard over the past few months to let the people of Middlewich and surrounding areas hear why this incinerator proposal should not go ahead.

“In addition, we have campaigned to Middlewich Town Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council against this planning application.

“We feel that some success has already been achieved in that Middlewich Town Council has rejected the planning application and Cheshire West and Chester, in its advisory role, also recommended that this Covanta Project should not proceed – unanimous decisions by both planning committees.

“We hope that both yourself and Cheshire East Council will see this as an important factor, when you formally consider this planning application.”

But Malcolm Chilton, managing director of Covanta Energy, said: “Chain’s petition objects to Covanta’s application on the basis of three grounds. As part of the planning application we have provided evidence to Cheshire East, establishing each of these to be untrue.

“Information submitted by Covanta, as part of the planning application, clearly demonstrates that Covanta’s proposal for an Energy from Waste plant in Middlewich poses no risk whatsoever to public health and safety, nor will it damage the environment.

“The site is indeed a suitable location, immediately adjacent to a site identified as a preferred site for thermal treatment in Cheshire’s Replacement Waste Local plan, but no longer available, having been developed for distribution use.

Independent organisations, whose role it is to safeguard health and the environment can also substantiate this.

“The Environment Agency concludes that well managed Energy from Waste plants that meet the European Waste Incineration Directive will not harm human health.

“The Environment Agency also states that these plants will not cause significant pollution to the environment. In fact, the plant will help reduce pollution.

“As requested by Cheshire East, we are currently providing additional information which demonstrates beyond doubt that Covanta’s proposal is safe, poses no threat to public health or the environment, and is a suitable location for an Energy from Waste facility.

“The information provided by Covanta addresses all the concerns highlighted within Chain’s petition.”