POLITICIANS have called for an incinerator in West Cheshire to be ‘steeped into history’ after it emerged the construction company building it ran into financial trouble.
The £480m Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant (LSEP) received government planning permission in 2012 and is still under construction.
But controversy has surrounded new plans submitted by the company – which is a joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and FCC Environment – to increase capacity.
If allowed, it would see the amount of waste burnt rise from 600,000 to 728,000 tonnes a year, with a huge increase in the number of daily HGV movements from 262 to 434. Its opening hours would also be extended.
But it now turns out that the French company that built the plant, CNIM Environnement & Energie EPC, is having financial difficulties.
The parent company CNIM has opened safeguard proceedings under the country’s insolvency laws due to the financial and operational situation of its subsidiary. The procedure can last up to 12 months and, under French law, protects companies that are not in a state of insolvency to give them time to resolve their problems and continue their activities.
But Northwich Witton councilor Sam Naylor, who strongly criticized the plans, said: ‘This is an indication of the underlying issues facing the whole of the obsolete incineration industry and perhaps offers an opportunity to the Dutch/Spanish consortium funding the LSEP, to mirror and unplug this unwelcome, unwanted, outdated and highly polluting project.
Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury has also denounced the plans in the past. He added: “We now have technology in other parts of West Cheshire that can deal with waste that previously needed to be incinerated. Isn’t it time the whole old-fashioned project was launched into history? »
A spokesperson for LSEP Ltd said: “LSEP Ltd is disappointed to learn that CNIM Environnement & Energie EPC has announced its entry into administration.
“LSEP Ltd and its shareholders remain committed to delivering the project, which remains a financially sound and viable program.
“Construction is still ongoing at the site and LSEP Ltd and our project partners are now working together to identify the best way to complete construction of the project with minimal disruption.”
He added: “The LSEP will treat 600,000 tonnes of waste a year, which will contribute to the UK Government’s strategy to reduce landfill and export of waste, supplying around 110,000 homes and offsetting over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.