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Monday, 26 March 2012 08:23

Latest News on London Irish and "Eco Park" Developments

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London Irish
Residents are urged to keep an eye on the 'Latest News' section of Spelthorne Borough Council Website in the coming weeks, perhaps as early as the next few days. At our public meeting, London Irish made it plain that they intended to make two separate applications in respect of their Avenue site and a separate application for the Hazelwood Golf Course. As soon as more is known the Website will be updated and this will probably occur before the next e-bulletin is issued. We can be confident that the Local Planning Authority will allow plenty of time for representations to be made and will be making due allowance for the Easter break. (If you are not yet signed up to our e-bulletin service, why not click on the 'Contact LOSRA' on the top right menu of the Home Page and leave your email address?).

The depressing news on the approval of the Eco Park application by Surrey County Council may not be the end of the story. Readers will be well aware that LOSRA is implacably opposed to this development, and following the Planning Committee decision, we had a lengthy meeting with the Head of Corporate Governance, the Head of Planning Policy and the Cabinet member responsible for Environmental Services. It was a useful meeting and sufficient time was allowed for all our concerns to be aired. It now remains to be seen whether counsel for SBC advises that there is a case for applying to the High Court for Judicial Review.

It is worth reminding readers that, whatever the decision, no evidence has yet been provided which rebuts the following propositions:

  • According to the EC Guidelines for safer Biomass gasification, such plants can never be safe; they are always managed risks requiring best practice to mitigate them. Assurances of absolute safety are simply untrue.
  • Batch gasifiers (eg.the EcoPark) burning unknown waste are a lot riskier than continuous Biomass fed gasifiers because they are harder to control and experience continuous process perturbations as feed chambers are switched. Most 'big bangs' occur at start up and shut down, as any process engineer can tell you.
  • During operation of a biomass gasification plant there is an increased hazard potential due to the fact that a potentially explosive, toxic and combustible gas mixture is produced and consumed. The producer gas and residues (ash, liquids, exhaust gases) may cause the following major hazards/risks:
    • an explosion and/or fire;
    • health damage to humans (poisoning, danger of suffocation, noise, hot surfaces, fire and explosion); and
    • pollution of the environment and plant vicinity.
  • To counteract these adverse effects, appropriate measures must be taken to meet the requirements for successful market introduction of a safe and eco-friendly biomass gasification technology;
  • The developers had neither recognised these risks in their design nor advised the Health and Safety Executive of what they were about. We did that when they would not. They have still not created a viable design; and what they propose is often the opposite to what is recommended in the Guidelines ie. UNSAFE

Hence our concern with placing a badly designed experimental explosive chemical process plant, handling toxic substances, in a public facility near dense habitation. Not a practice that a responsible commercial plant operator would follow, or be allowed to follow by competent authorities or their lawyers, because it's simply placing people at avoidable risk.

Not a planning criterion says the Surrey CC planning officer; not your problem he assured councillors.


  • Comment Link Carol Box Wednesday, 11 April 2012 09:05 posted by Carol Box

    Thank you Adrian, that's encouraging! In fact, shortly after I posted here I received an e-mail from Cllr. Richard Smith-Ainsley, saying much the same.

  • Comment Link Adrian Corti Tuesday, 10 April 2012 11:25 posted by Adrian Corti

    Carol, things are happening behind the scenes re UnEcopark I can assure you! Infact Spelthorne BC aided by Losra and Satep, are being very pro-active! More news soon on possible legal challenges to be announced if all goes well. To be honest, I believe we are in a far stronger position now than any of us ever expected to be.....it ain't over yet!

  • Comment Link Carol Box Friday, 06 April 2012 11:33 posted by Carol Box

    Regarding the MOST UNEco Park, things have gone eerily quiet. Is this, along with the local population, just being quietly allowed to 'die a death'

  • Comment Link John Hirsh Wednesday, 04 April 2012 21:17 posted by John Hirsh

    Regrettably Alan, your argument, well made though it is, was given a full airing at the Public Inquiry. It did not carry sufficient weight to add to the reasons for refusal.

  • Comment Link Alan Kingsbury Saturday, 31 March 2012 11:46 posted by Alan Kingsbury

    I notice from the news that Saracens Rugby Club have been granted permission to develope their ground and put down a 3G pitch! a spokesman for the club said "that it will allow them to play on the pitch at any time as many times as they like"
    Why can't London Irish do the same at the Avenue site and avoid polluting the area with more cars! Or is it more to do with London Irish Holdings wanting to extract large sums of money, on the pretext that they haven't got enough pitches!
    The 3G pitch solves their problem as it doesn't wear out like grass!!!

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