PLANNING applications are an issue fraught with controversy. From the application to build a small extension, to proposals to build thousands of homes in Wyre Forest’s green belt, all seem to gather objections of one sort or another.

Some are quite appalling – the plans to dig a 110-acre quarry between Cookley and Wolverley is one such proposal. Others seem to attract controversy where there is little.

One such proposal is to build a power generation plant in the industrial park on the Stourport Road. This will service adjacent sites, including the Liberty car parts manufacturer in the old forge buildings.

Readers will remember this site was turned into a waste recycling centre a few years ago that caught fire. Happily, it now employs around 100 people making parts for cars, but cannot reach its full potential due to electricity supply and the inability of the national grid to deliver enough power for the machines.

The answer is to generate power locally, and proposals have been submitted to build a low impact power station that will merge seamlessly with the local buildings and provide enough electricity to the local businesses to be able to deliver hundreds of jobs.

Moreover, it diverts waste from landfill to power the furnaces, and so, under extremely strict regulations regarding emissions, will improve the planet, generate locally needed power and deliver locally needed jobs and prosperity.

Its impact will be limited. Not only will it be largely invisible compared to the local factories, it will have far fewer vehicles delivering the waste for the furnace than was the case with the recycling centre.

Indeed, the new plant’s intention is to source the waste locally, so the environmental impact will be as low as possible.

Of course, there is an argument that by recycling waste into energy, it encourages waste to be produced and I would far rather see renewable energy than that derived from waste.

But we have a huge problem right now and I would rather see this waste turned into local jobs than buried in someone’s field – maybe even something as offensive as the quarry in Cookley!

For as long as there is waste, there will need to be a way of getting rid of it. Recycling and re-use is incredibly tightly regulated, meaning that some emissions from incinerators can be cleaner than the air they go into.