Big Issue North 1-7 December 2008
A recycling company’s plans for a green energy plant in Horwich, near Bolton is facing local opposition due to complaints about its existing site and a claimed lack of public consultation.
Armstrong Environmental Services, the Bolton recycling company based in Bolton, is planning to install the powerful 20-megawatt generator at the site of the former Horwich Castings foundry. The proposed plant would use recycled wood to extract gas that turns a turbine. The plant would create around 50 jobs and generate clean, renewable electricity for 40,000 homes. But Horwich residents who have complained about smells emanating from the company’s existing site in Horwich are opposed to the new plant.
They claim the smell can get so bad that children won’t play outside and local businesses find their customers are put off. One resident said: “I am fully aware that the company is doing necessary work in helping to reduce the landfill problem in this country. But surely there is a necessity for it to prevent the area from suffering?”
“Locals don’t have anything against this type of project,” Horwich councillor Steve Rock said. “They are simply worried due to the constant trouble they’ve had with Armstrong due to noise, dust and odour pollution from its existing site.”Another local councillor, John Barrow, added: “If you’d ever been to Horwich in the summer you’d know. The smell is so bad it makes people sick, actually physically sick.”
Barrow added that there has been no face-to-face consultation with Armstrong, the councillors or the public. “Or if there has been we weren’t invited,” he said. The company has applied to Bolton Council for a certificate of lawfulness, rather than planning permission, for the site.
“As I understand it, if they go through planning, public consultation will be necessary. Otherwise it won’t.
“Locals are 100 per cent against it. I’ve not heard of anyone for it. The company has a long history of bad dealings and relations with the public.” Armstrong would not comment.
By ARWA ABURAWA