Power plant company 'still committed' to a facility in Northampton despite backlash to £160m 'incinerator'

Recent developments have suggested plans for a waste-to-energy plant in Northampton are by no means dead and buried.
Recent developments have suggested plans for a waste-to-energy plant in Northampton are by no means dead and buried.

Developers looking to build a waste-to-energy power plant in Northampton say they still haven't ruled out a site in St James as their preferred option - despite months of protests.

Rolton Kilbride's plan to build a £160 million plant at the Westbridge Depot in St James Mill Road faced strong opposition from the community-run campaign No Monster Incinerator in Northampton.

The campaigners appeared to have scored a victory in August when Rolton Kilbride agreed to take another look at the location of the plant as part of an enforced review period. It had been on the verge of submitting a planning application for the Westbridge site in June.

But this week momentum has gathered behind the principle of a waste-to-energy plant again.

Northamptonshire County Council's cabinet has agreed to set up its own review, looking into the possibility of building an "energy park" to dispose of tonnes of its non-recyclable waste.

The council says its own review is separate from Rolton Kilbride's plans and says the move could save it up to £10 million a year in landfill taxes.

However, in a statement this week, Rolton Kilbride has also revealed the Westbridge depot has not been ruled out

"We understand that the county council has put forward plans for an energy park but these are outline at present," said a spokeswoman.

"We are still reviewing our position in relation to the Westbridge Depot, but remain committed to the project. We are interested to see what developments are planned."

Labour Councillor Gareth Eales said the latest developments are a firm sign that a waste-to-energy plant, campaigners have labelled an "incinerator," is still on the cards.

In a video blog the councillor said: "The issue of an incinerator in St James or in Northampton has not gone away.

"I have always said people shouldn't be complacent and I'm saying that again today."

Campaigners fought against the Westbridge plant on the basis of its size and the emissions it would produce in an area known to have poor air quality.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “The proposal in the council’s medium term financial plan for £10 savings in 2019/2010 relates to the way the county council is seeking to deal with 170,000 tonnes of residual municipal waste that the council has to deal with when the current treatment and disposal contracts come to an end in 2020.

“For financial and environmental reasons the aim is to provide a solution which continues to treat waste and recovers energy rather than just landfilling the waste.

“The concept of an energy park provides the opportunity to investigate whether other waste streams could be treated in an environmentally sustained way and save money for the council.

“A full business case needs to be developed along with the identification of a suitable location for the facility.”