Judge dismisses appeal against Barton biomass plant

Trafford council’s appeal against decision to grant planning for £70 million Barton biomass plant dismissed by High Court Judge today (February 24)

A High Court judge has dismissed Trafford council’s appeal against the decision to grant planning permission to Peel Energy’s £70 million biomass plant in Barton at Manchester Civil Court today (February 24).

Planning permission was granted for the facility by communities secretary Eric Pickles following a nine-day public inquiry in November 2012. This overturned Trafford council’s original decision to turn down planning for the facility in 2011.

An artists' impression of Peel Energy's proposed Barton Renewable Energy Plant

An artists’ impression of Peel Energy’s proposed Barton Renewable Energy Plant

Trafford council said it was ‘disappointed’ with today’s decision, which follows a two-day hearing at Manchester High Court on February 10-11 (see story).

The council and campaigners have concerns over the impact of fine particle emissions from the plant, which is being built close to an existing Air Quality Management Area. It also said the plant does not use Best Available Techniques (BATs), a claim disputed by Peel Energy.

In a statement, Trafford council said: “Trafford council is disappointed with the decision to dismiss its application regarding the Biomass in Davyhulme. The council is now considering its position and will also concentrate its efforts on ensuring the number of preconditions, which were set out in the decision for the Biomass plant, are upheld to safeguard the health of the people of Flixton and Davyhulme.”

The proposed Barton Renewable Energy Plant in Davyhulme, Manchester, is being developed by renewable energy firm Peel Energy and would have the capacity to process 200,000 tonnes per year of wood — primarily commercial and municipal waste wood.

Commenting on the judge’s decision today, Jon England, project manager at Peel Energy, said: “We are grateful to the Court for considering the issues raised by Trafford council.
“We now intend to focus our attention on completing the work necessary for the plant to be built so it can start generating renewable electricity for the homes and businesses of Greater Manchester.”

According to Peel Energy, which is the renewable energy subsidiary of property and holdings firm Peel Group, the 20MW Barton plant will generate enough electricity to power 37,000 homes.

The development has already been issued with a permit by the Environment Agency and construction work is expected to start this year before full operations commence in 2016. Before the delays in gaining planning approval, it was originally expected that the plant would be operational by mid-2014.


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