Protest welcome party awaits planning visit

Bright yellow signs with 'No Toxic Chemical Plant' have been placed around Appley Bridge.  This sign is on Crow Orchard Road, Appley Bridge.
Bright yellow signs with 'No Toxic Chemical Plant' have been placed around Appley Bridge. This sign is on Crow Orchard Road, Appley Bridge.
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COUNTY planning officers can expect a welcome party when they visit the potential Wigan site of a controversial fuel plant this week.

Energy company P-Fuel has submitted an application to Lancashire Town Hall for a waste plastics to fuel operation in Appley Bridge.

Residents have organised a protest demonstration to coincide with officers making a site visit on Thursday.

Protest group Appley Bridge Community Against Greenbelt Erosion (Abcage) recently stepped up its awareness campaign in the village with members posting vivid yellow warning posters.

And a group spokesperson told the Evening Post although it is not organising an official protest, residents have made clear they wish to take part in a peaceful demonstration to show the planning officers the level of feeling in the village about the plans.

The development committee officers will visit the site on Appley Bridge Lane North on Thursday morning ahead of crucial meetings at Lancashire Town Hall on January 18 and 20.

P-Fuel has previously obtained permission for a cooking oil to electricity operation which is yet to start, but submitted a further application for the waste plastics conversion last year.

Campaigners say the plant would pose a significant risk to health and have a detrimental impact on congestion through the village.

But according to P-Fuel’s website, the process includes no “hydrocarbon emissions” and no “naked flames.”

The planning application states the site would be a “low temperature pyrolysis plant to convert low worth waste plastic in to diesel and gasoline.

“The facility includes a fuel reception hall, conveyors, chemical treatment, fuel storage tanks a generator set and officers.

“The facility uses the non-condensable gases and some of the product gasoline as fuel to meet the plants heat and power requirements.”

The striking signs, which are currently on display in their dozens around Appley Bridge read “No Toxic Chemical Plant” alongside a skull and crossbones warning image.

A spokesperson for Abcage will address the development control committee on January 18 along with representations from Dalton Parish Council and a P-Fuel representative.

The final decision will then be made two days later at a public hearing at County Hall in Preston.