Plans for a £180m south Wirral complex to convert waste into electricity and heat have rekindled fears among Eastham residents over a possible traffic surge through the village.
Wirral planning authority will next week study proposals by Biossense to construct an “energy-from-waste” plant using gasification technology at Hooton Park.
Construction is likely to take 28 months during which time 300 people will be employed on the site. On completion 68 permanent staff will be employed there.
Eastham Village Preservation Association insist they will object to the proposal on the grounds that “we would want to keep the traffic out of Eastham Village.
Local councillor Phil Gilchrist said: “I still remember the campaigns of the late 1960s and 1970s to clear Eastham Village of tanker traffic.
“It was only once the by-pass or industrial access road opened that the villagers were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.”
The application site is situation around one kilometre east of Eastham Village. In the immediate vicinity of the site industrial development includes the Vauxhall car plant and oil storage depots associated with Eastham Docks.
To ease local misgivings Wirral Council planners – who have recommended approval for the scheme – are seeking a condition to ensure all contractors using HGVs to deliver waste and other suppliers to the plant, do not use the road through the village.
Cllr Gilchrist said: “I would like it made clear that the routes and penalties for non-compliance should be covered from the outset, from when waste materials are first delivered.”
Biossense have indicated that they see the traffic implications as a key priority and they planned to keep the extra traffic generated away from Eastham Village.
The site entrance for HGvs has been located at the southern end of the site to help ensure that HGV drivers abided by their contractual obligation to exit the M53 at unction six as opposed to junction five.
This would avoid travelling along the A41 that cuts through the old part of the village.
Biossense’s proposed sustainable energy facility was originally given permission in 2009 but the company plan to change the scheme to make use of more advance technology to create energy from waste.
Documents indicate the maximum amount of commercial and pre-processed municipal waste the facility would receive would be £400,000 tonnes a year.
Wirral Wildlife are insistent that conditions imposed in the 2009 planning approval must be thoroughly carried out, especially with regard to bats.
A number of legally protected species have been recorded on site, including bats, badgers and barn owls.
The report to next week’s planning committee concluded: “It is considered that the development represents an important option in the waste management cycle with sustainability benefits to landfill.”