Tyne & Wear

Washington waste energy plant 'could halt Metro extension'

Washington Incinerator Protesters With Banner
Image caption Residents protested against the incinerator in October last year

A hoped-for extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro could be scuppered if a "monster incinerator" is given planning permission, councillors have been told.

Sunderland City Council will rule on controversial proposals for a gasification plant in Washington later.

Thousands of people have protested against the plant.

A report to councillors warns it is potentially too close to a disused rail line earmarked as a possible route for the Metro extension.

The former Leamside Line runs along the western side of the proposed plant at Hillthorn Farm, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

"In light of renewed studies of the potential of the Leamside line corridor for Metro extensions and Northern Powerhouse Rail, Nexus seeks to retain the site of the former Usworth station for potential future rail related land uses," the report said.

The station is about 820ft (250m) away from the location suggested for the plant.

The North East Combined Authority said the development "would be likely to" rule out using it as Metro station, the report said.

However, it conceded there were no "firm proposals" to reopen the line.

Image copyright Rolton Kilbride
Image caption The plant at Hillthorn Farm would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Developer Rolton Kilbride said it welcomed scrutiny of the application and would "look forward to the result of the committee with interest".

The council has been recommended to approve the scheme.

The plant would operate continuously, seven days a week, processing up to 215,000 tonnes of non-hazardous municipal, commercial and industrial waste a year.

Campaigners said it would release dangerous emissions, attract vermin and be noisy.

Rolton Kilbride has previously said there had been "misinformation" about the plant's safety and cleanliness.

Image copyright Stuart Wall
Image caption A petition with more than 9,000 names was handed in to the council as part of a consultation which ended in November

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