CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a multi-million-pound incinerator and waste plant in Kidderminster have been given the green light by councillors despite concerns about its environmental impact.

Power Generation Midlands (PGM) had its proposals to develop an ‘energy and resource park’ on land next to Liberty Aluminium foundry off Stourport Road in Kidderminster approved by Worcestershire County Council’s planning committee.

PGM says the park will generate low carbon energy – used to power local businesses including the neighbouring Liberty Aluminium foundry – and recover plastic waste that would otherwise end up in landfill.

The plans proved controversial during public consultation with more than 240 objections registered with planners at the county council.

Many raised concerns about the impact the facility would have on air quality in the area and pollution whilst others questioned the need for another incinerator.

Speaking on behalf of Wyre Forest Against Incineration (WFAI), Kidderminster Town Councillor Doug Hine, said: “This is a hugely disappointing decision that is a big step towards the construction of a facility which will put yet more carbon in the atmosphere just weeks before the Glasgow summit on climate change.

“And we do not have much faith in adherence to the operating conditions imposed.

“The Environment Agency is hugely underfunded, and experience elsewhere shows that ‘continuous monitoring’ and enforcement doesn’t always happen.

“Waste incineration brings risks to human and environmental health.

“We’ve seen fires too from stored materials, similar to events at Lawrence’s in Kidderminster a few years back.”

Kidderminster Shuttle: An artist's impression of the £30m energy and resource park planned for KidderminsterAn artist's impression of the £30m energy and resource park planned for Kidderminster

Fellow campaigner Stephen Brown said: “I’m angry that the council failed to grasp the health and environmental impact of this issue, they’re playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives and livelihoods.

“However, there are further obstacles that could stop this incinerator.

“There will be a consultation to consider an environmental permit, we’ll be pushing for a judicial review because of planning law errors in the officers’ report, and there’s a possibility of getting the minister responsible to ‘call-in’ the proposal.

“This is far from over, so if I was them, I wouldn’t be popping the champagne corks just yet.”

At the planning meeting, Cllr Chris Rogers said he understood the concerns of residents but whilst it was important to reduce the use of plastic, there was still a responsibility to deal with plastic currently used.

“Sending it away for somebody else to fix with is not a viable option,” he told councillors at County Hall on Tuesday (September 28).

“It ends up in the sea and back in our stomachs ultimately which is definitely not viable.”

Cllr Tom Wells said the council would be entering “dangerous territory” and would put itself at risk of losing a planning appeal if councillors tried to find a reason to reject the plan against the recommendation of expert bodies such as the Environment Agency.

The plan was approved by ten votes to four.