Energy secretary Ed Davey has given the go-ahead to a 60MW energy from waste (EfW) plant despite strong opposition from Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The new plant, a joint project by E.On Energy for Waste UK Ltd (EEW) and Tata Chemicals Europe, is now likely to begin construction next year.
The proposed development at Lostock, Northwich, will generate enough power to supply 80,000 homes and is estimated to create around 500 jobs during the construction period and a further 50 permanent posts.
A local opposition group said it had gathered 25,000 signatures and more than 3,000 individual written submissions against the application. The council also formally objected to the plans, but a subsequent public inquiry held last year recommended the facility be allowed to proceed.
Mr Davey has now added his consent. A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “This plant takes waste and turns it into something of great value – enough power to supply 80,000 homes - and in addition creates jobs for the local community.”
Nader Bahri, EEW director, said: “This decision is a milestone for EEW in the UK as it is our second UK plant to be granted planning consent. As a result, many tonnes of waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill could now be used to create sustainable energy.”
Martin Ashcroft, Tata Chemicals Europe managing director, said: “The plant is designed to provide steam to Tata Chemicals Europe’s Lostock factory.
“As an energy intensive business, we are faced with ever-rising gas prices which are increasingly difficult to absorb. The new plant will give us fuel price stability which will allow us to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and to plan our long-term future.”