George Osborne has said he is disappointed that Ed Davey, the energy secretary, has approved an incineration plant in the chancellor’s constituency.
The 60MW EfW plant at Lostock, Northwich, is to be built by Tata Chemicals and E.On and will process 600,000 tonnes of rubbish a year.
Osborne, left, a long-standing opponent of the project, signed a petition against the facility alongside 25,000 other protesters, according to a report in the Guardian.
As MRW reported, Davey gave consent for the £250m plant on 2 October following a year-long public inquiry that recommended approval of the project. Osborne described the decision as “naturally disappointing”.
The only recourse to action following Davey’s approval is taking a challenge to the high court. However, the chancellor told the Conservative Party Conference he would be “a relentless activist [for] building infrastructure, roads and power plants”.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said: “It is essential we have a balanced energy mix in the future to provide low cost, efficient energy. This plant takes waste and turns it into something of great value and in addition creates jobs for the local community.”
The proposed development 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. It will also provide power for Tata’s nearby chemicals plant.
Nader Bahri, E.On Energy for Waste UK Ltd 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.”
In what the Guardian termed a “further embarrassment” for the chancellor, Obsorne has previously commended Tata’s chemicals plant as an “important local employer”, and he has championed “cheap” gas as the solution to energy blackouts.