A CAMPAIGN group fighting plans for an incinerator in Middlewich has argued that its disadvantages ‘far outweigh the very few benefits’.

Cheshire Anti Incinerator Network (CHAIN) made its closing statements alongside representatives from Cheshire East Council and applicants Covanta, at the close of the public inquiry, on October 5.

The inquiry, which started in March and resumed on October 3, will decide the fate of the American firm’s controversial plans for an energy-from-waste plant at Midpoint 18 business park.

The plant would be capable of burning 370,000 tonnes of waste per year.

At the final session, held in Crewe, planning inspector Richard Tamplin was presented with a letter signed by 1,200 Middlewich residents stating that they would have attended the inquiry if it had been held in the town.

In his closing statements, Brian Cartwright, CHAIN chairman, said that Covanta would have a ‘considerable mountain to climb’ to convince local people the development would be good for Middlewich.

“The Inspector should not be under any illusions about the feeling this development has produced within the local population of Middlewich,” he said.

“CHAIN urges that in light of recent legislation from government, sufficient weight be allowed to this issue.”

He said that if the plant was given the green light, residents living nearby would suffer a landscape and visual impairment, while species including the Lesser Silver Water Beatle could be wiped out in what was termed an ‘ecological disaster’.

Brian flagged up what he claimed was a difference in the burn technology Covanta plan to use in Middlewich, compared to the processes implemented in some plants in America, as a ‘major fear’ for townsfolk.

He said: “CHAIN and the people of Middlewich are not impressed with the record of a company who plans to do business in the UK.

“There is fear and apprehension, understandably, arising from a safety record which in the past has been poor in operating waste incinerator plants.”

Malcolm Chilton, managing director of Covanta, said: “Covanta remain convinced that an energy-from-waste facility at Midpoint 18 is an environmentally sound solution and will help safeguard jobs and encourage new industries to the area.

“This much needed facility will divert waste that cannot be recycled away from being tipped into landfill sites.

“The Inquiry was run in a fair and informative manner and we are confident that the Inspector has all the necessary evidence before him.

“We hope we can bring this investment to Cheshire in the near future.”

The inquiry officially closed on October 6, following a site visit.

An announcement on the verdict date is expected to be made this week.