CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to fight on against plans to build a controversial gas power plant in Somercotes after the Environment Agency announced its draft decision to issue a permit for the operation.
The Amber Valley Against Incinerators (AVAIN) action group was set up last year to protest against Warwick Energy’s bid to build an £8m gasification plant at Pye Bridge Industrial Estate.
The plant would burn industrial and household waste to create syngas to power homes, but AVAIN members fear it could release potentially harmful dioxins that may particularly affect children and elderly people.
AVAIN spokeswoman Kathryn Reveilles said: “We’re absolutely gutted – but it’s not knocked our drive or confidence. We feel that the agency has ignored all the concerns we raised with them last October.”
AVAIN are now calling for the agency to undertake a full public meeting regarding the draft decision as soon as possible.
The draft decision to issue the permit was announced last week. An EA spokesman said: “Only after carefully taking into account any additional and relevant matters raised will a final decision be made on whether to issue a permit.”
The permit decision is separate from the planning process and focuses on the technology used, how the site is to be operated, the emissions from the operation and any direct impact the site has on health and the environment.
It doesn’t consider the suitability of the location and issues like visual impact, as these are part of planning process.
AVAIN was formed to keep local people informed about the plans for the power plant and collected 1,400 names on a petition against it.
Campaigners are concerned about the potential effect of pollution and health problems caused by incinerators of this sort. Warwickshire firm Warwick Energy, which is behind the plan, has said the company’s emission levels are controlled by the Environment Agency. Derbyshire County Council has yet to set a date for deciding a planning decision. People have until May 6 to raise any issues they think the agency has overlooked.
The draft permit and decision document can be viewed free of charge at Amber Valley Borough Council, Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley, DE5 3BT, or on the Environment Agency website.