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Ince Marshes biomass incinerator given go ahead

image captionPeel Energy said the plant would generate electricity from wood

Controversial plans to build an incinerator on the banks of the River Mersey have been approved.

Ince Biomass Plant on Ince Marshes, near Helsby, will be fuelled by almost 200,000 tonnes of recycled wood a year.

Peel Energy said it would generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 37,000 homes. People living nearby fear it could affect their health.

Cheshire West and Chester Council said councillors had reluctantly granted planning permission.

It said councillors had followed advice from planning officers that there were no "defensible grounds" on which to reject it.

Jobs created

The strategic planning committee spent two hours in a lengthy debate on Thursday evening discussing the application.

It initially turned down the recommendation for approval, but following advice from planners a second vote was taken and councillors voted in favour of the planning application by five votes to four.

A council spokesman said: "Members were told that they risked going to a highly expensive appeal, potentially costing hundreds or thousands of pounds of rate payers money, without grounds to justify the case."

Professor John Dearden, a member of Residents Against Incineration (RAIN), a group campaigning against the building of incinerators in Cheshire, was one of those against the plant.

He said: "A couple of years ago the American Lung Association wrote to the US Government, to say that they should discourage biomass incineration because of the risks to the health of children, older people, and those with lung disease.

"It can be a serious problem."

A representative of Peel told the meeting that, regarding health risk, the development would operate within acceptable conditions.

The company has said the plant would generate renewable electricity from wood that might otherwise end up in landfill, help to secure energy supplies and help the UK to meet its climate change and carbon dioxide reduction targets.

It will also create 17 full-time permanent jobs.

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