Labour group comes out against £160m new power plant in Northampton because of location

Artist's impressions of the proposed power plant in St James have been revealed, complete with an education centre.

Artist's impressions of the proposed power plant in St James have been revealed, complete with an education centre.

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The Labour group on Northampton Borough Council has come out against the proposed power plant in St James - saying it is simply in the wrong location.

Rolton Kilbride wants to build a £160 million gasification plant at the Westbridge depot in St James Mill Road, but in recent weeks the scheme has faced criticism from members of the local community, who are worried about its size, the toxins emitted and much more.

But the Labour group, the main opposition group on the borough council, now says it is against the scheme - even though it says it is for the principle of gasification plants over landfill.

A statement from the group says: “The proposed site for the gasification plant boarders an area where there are oil tanks and a petrol station. It is close to residential areas and community centres. This represents a major hazard.”

Group leader Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle) added: “The Labour group supports gasification and the proposal for cheaper energy for residents and local business as a medium term measure and an alternative to landfill.

“The Labour group is strongly opposed to the proposed location of a gasification site in St James. The best place for a plant like this is on the perimeter of Northampton. 

“With this in mind we accept the need for a gasification plant near the town but firmly reject St James as the location.”

Councillor Rufia Ashraf (Lab, St James) says she is concerned at the amount of lorry movements going in and out of the site a day and the potential effect of the plant on the air quality.

She said: “It will not be possible to arrange for an even flow of these lorries so there will inevitably be bunching with sometimes two or three vehicles waiting to enter the site. This represents a major local disturbance and a major hazard. 

“The site should be rejected for this reason.”

Rolton Kilbride says the plant needs to be situated where it is to minimise on infrastucture costs and so it can pipe off cheap heat to nearby homes.

On its website the firm says: “The site was made available by Northampton Borough Council, since the minerals and waste local plan identifies the location as acceptable for waste management uses in principle.

“There are also potential heat and power customers in close proximity and good communication links. The site is already in use for waste transfer and sorting activities.”