Postal workers ‘deeply troubled’ by Northampton power plant plans, says union

Artist's impressions of the planned power plant in St James.

Artist's impressions of the planned power plant in St James.

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More than 100 Northampton postal workers are “deeply troubled” by plans for a £160 million power plant close to their St James workplace, union leaders say.

On Wednesday Northampton Borough Council is poised to offer Rolton Kilbride a two-year option to develop its Westbridge Depot site for a new waste to-energy plant.

But the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) says its members working in the St James Mill Road delivery office near to the site, have deep concerns.

CWU official for St James Mill Road, Julian Travill, said: “Our members are deeply troubled at the thought of this power plant being a stone’s throw from our workplace, whether it be pollution from the giant chimney stack or the close proximity to the nearby fuel tanks.”

The CWU branch has made a £500 donation to the St James Residents’ Association to help its campaign to oppose the gasification plant.

It also plans to present a petition signed by 120 postal workers to both the borough and county councils.

County councillor for Dallington and Spencer, Councillor Gareth Eales, is set to present the petition to both authorities.

On June 16 he will call on the county council to hold a referendum on the power plant.

He is also calling on the borough council to hold off on granting Rolton Kilbride the option on the Westbridge depot land at its cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

He said: “In the immediate term I hope that Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet can withdraw their agenda item giving advance approval for a lease on the Westbridge site for this power plant.

“I will be addressing them in my capacity as a county councillor asking them to do just that on Wednesday evening.”

Protests are also planned before the Wednesday meeting.

However today Rolton kilbride says it has written to the borough council to “formalise” the option agreement.

The company says the plant’s technology has been in use for a number of decades in Scandinavia and Japan.

It also claims the facility will be subject to “stringent regulation by a number of regulatory authorities,” including the Environment Agency and the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).

Managing director of Rolton Kilbride, Andrew Needham, said: “The Westbridge Depot has been part of the local authority’s waste treatment facilities for a long time.

“Our proposal would modernise the site and potentially bring renewable energy to local businesses.

“There will be further consultation with the public and residents throughout the planning process, with plenty of opportunities for people to ask questions and share their views with us.”