Council Leader expresses concerns about Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant Ltd application

01 December 2021

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council has written to Kwasi Kwarteng MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to express the Council’s concerns about the Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant Ltd (LSEP Ltd) application to the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

The application seeks to increase the consented annual waste fuel throughput of the LSEP from 600,000 to 728,000 tonnes per annum. The application also seeks to increase the HGV waste delivery movements and the weekday waste delivery hours. The application does not seek any physical changes to the LSEP. 

The Council have until the 4 January 2022 to object to the principle of this development.  

The Council is urging the Secretary of State to reconsider the terms of the LSEP Ltd operating licence, highlighting the following points: 
  • It is scientifically proven that the burning of plastic produces more CO2 per kWhr than any other fuel (Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark)
  • Other, more sustainable, technologies for waste processing are becoming available such as anaerobic digestion or hydrogenation. This should reduce our reliance on such technologies as those under consideration here. We should be looking to invest elsewhere and not expand the capacity of such facilities.
  • The LSEP facility plays no part in The Council’s own waste processing plans.
  • LSEP Ltd are a Danish company, but their technology has been banned in Denmark because of the levels of particulates, and other pollutants. 
  • Transport has been permitted by road but there is a perfectly serviceable railhead at this site.
  • The road network into and out of the Lostock site cannot cope with the planned extra traffic and will make life miserable for residents living close by in addition to the generation of extra CO2 and particulate matter.
  • Incineration is harmful to the circular economy and damages efforts to produce less packaging and more sustainable or biodegradable packaging; and
  • The licence to operate at this site runs contrary to our declared climate emergency and we would urge the Secretary of State to reconsider the LSEP Ltd operating licence and to oppose any future operational expansion should the company apply in the future. 
Full Council supported the Leader writing to the Secretary of State to express these concerns. 

In her letter to the Secretary of State, Councillor Gittins says:

“We recognise that final approval for this facility comes directly from central government, and not from local councils, so feel we must highlight to you our strength of feeling. We feel this application to you should be refused taking into account the huge impact this facility already has and continues to have on our local residents. 

“The Government granted planning permission for the construction of the Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant, we are now doing everything we can to prevent the current application that would add further pollution and congestion on local roads and be in direct opposition to our commitment to the declared climate emergency.”

Letter

Dear Kwasi Kwarteng

I am writing to you as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as your department will be responsible for making the decision in relation to the application to vary the existing consent for the Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant (LSEP) on Griffiths Road
in Northwich. This application is seeking to increase the power output for the site which involves amendments to a number of conditions such as increasing the HGV movements to the site.

As a Local Planning Authority, we will formally be responding to the submission that has been made to you, but I wanted to personally flag a number of very significant concerns about the existence and operation of this facility that remain ongoing. We as a Council recognise that final approval for this facility comes directly from central government, and not from local councils, so feel we must highlight to you our strength of feeling. We feel this application to you should be refused taking into account the huge impact this facility already has and continues to have on our local residents.

We as a Council would urge you to reconsider the terms of the LSEP Ltd operating license and would highlight to you the following points:
  • It is scientifically proven that the burning of plastic produces more CO2 per kWhr than any other fuel.
  • Other, more sustainable, technologies for waste processing are becoming available such as anaerobic digestion or hydrogenation. This should reduce our reliance on such technologies as those under consideration here. We should be looking to invest elsewhere and not expand the capacity of such facilities.
  • The LSEP facility plays no part in CWAC’s own waste processing plans.
  • LSEP Ltd are a Danish company, but their technology has been banned in Denmark because of the levels of particulates, and other pollutants.
  • Transport has been permitted by road but there is a perfectly serviceable railhead at this site.
  • The road network into and out of the Lostock site cannot cope with the planned extra traffic and will make life miserable for residents living close by in addition to the generation of extra CO2 and particulate matter.
  • Incineration is harmful to the circular economy and damages efforts to produce less packaging and more sustainable or biodegradable packaging; and
  • The licence to operate at this site runs contrary to our declared climate emergency and we would urge the Secretary of State to reconsider the LSEP ltd operating licence and to oppose any future operational expansion should the company apply in the future.
We need to take seriously the impact this facility has, and will continue to have, on generations of residents of Cheshire West and Chester. This is in addition to our global commitments to tackling climate change. We acknowledge that processing waste is an important part of addressing this issue but as technology changes and improves we should not find ourselves locked into the more harmful practices of the past.

I would strongly urge you to refuse this application.

Yours sincerely
Councillor Louise Gittins
Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council

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