Nottingham

Eric Pickles to look at Bilsthorpe power station plans

Designs for the plant at Bilsthorpe Image copyright Peel
Image caption The site could handle around 120,000 tonnes of 'non-hazardous' waste each year

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has told a council not to give the go-ahead for a £70m waste-burning power station until he has looked at the plans.

Approval for the energy plant, on the site of the former Bilsthorpe Colliery in Nottinghamshire, was granted on Wednesday.

Mark Spencer, Conservative MP for Sherwood, asked for the decision to be reviewed.

Mr Pickles will now decide whether to "call in" the plans.

If this happens he will make a final decision on the planning application.

Nottinghamshire County Council said it would be informed in writing when a decision was reached.

Mr Spencer said the plans had caused a lot of ill feeling among his constituents.

They were passed by five votes to four with two abstentions, but Mr Spencer said he was "fairly hopeful" Mr Pickles would reach a different conclusion.

Campaigners claim the plant would have a harmful impact on local villages and wildlife through pollution and an increase in traffic.

One group said it was just another incinerator.

Shlomo Dowen, from UKWIN (Without Incineration Network), said: "It'll be an ugly industrial plant with two 100ft chimneys that will be belting out water vapour containing particulates and toxins."

'Extremely difficult decision'

The council's Conservative planning committee chairman John Wilkinson said: "For large planning applications with significant public interest, it's not unusual for the minister to scrutinise a planning committee's decision and I welcome his decision to take a look at it.

"The decision to grant consent, in the face of a lot of concern from the local community, was an extremely difficult one.

"Ultimately, though, if the committee decides to refuse an application, it must be confident and be able to demonstrate that there are sound planning reasons for doing so."

The firm behind the plans, Peel Environmental, said the site would handle about 120,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste each year and create enough power for about 23,000 homes.

It added the centre would use the latest gasification methods to recover energy from rubbish, which previously would have been buried at landfill sites.

The project is expected to create 46 jobs at the site which ceased coal production in 1995.

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