Campaigning against a new incinerator in Kirby
Campaigning against a new incinerator in Kirby

Neill Dunne, Stop the Simonswood incinerator campaign and Socialist Party

Secretary of State Michael Gove has given the green light for the Simonswood medical waste incinerator in spite of huge local opposition.

Stop the Simonswood incinerator campaign group has urged a judicial review regarding the needless approval of a medical waste incinerator. This incinerator will spew out toxic substances that affect the lives of residents in a ten-mile radius. Similar plants have seen an increase in respiratory problems, cancers and environmental issues in the surrounding area. (see ‘Campaigners to seek judicial review in fight against Lancashire incinerator’)

Nobody in the immediate vicinity of the plant wants or supports this plant being built. Local residents supported the anti-incinerator campaign, descending on Kirkby for meetings, leafleting and marches.

The towns of Kirkby, Melling, Bickerstaff, Aughton and Rainford rallied against the planning application, only for Lancashire County Council planning committee to ultimately approve it. After multiple delays we were told that members of the public would not be able to attend or express disagreement at the planning committee.

Eventually the committee did take place, but the campaign was limited to only 15 objections to the plans. The committee approved the incinerator with a vote of four to three with two abstentions.

Not being deterred, Stop the Simonswood Campaign wrote to the Secretary of State to “call-in” the decision because the objections to it are so strong.

We have waited for half a year for the news to come through that the Secretary has accepted the application process as reasonable and allowed the council to continue with the process.

This was a huge disappointment for the campaign but we will fight on. Next steps could include a judicial review by neighbouring council, Knowsley.

The fight continues.