The Environment Agency has granted Peel Energy an environmental permit for the controversial biomass energy plant planned for Davyhulme.

The agency said it has reached the decision on the Barton Renewable Energy biomass plant after a 'thorough assessment of the application'.

And the agency pointed out that this does not affect the need for Peel Energy to gain planning approval before the facility - earmarked for land near Barton Bridge - can be built.

A public inquiry into the scheme is due to begin on November 13.

But a pressure group opposing the plant, the Breathe Clean Air Group (BCAG)attacked the decision, and Stretford and urmston MP Kate Green said she was 'very disappointed' by it.

Gordon Whitaker, environment manager at the Environment Agency said: “This decision is the outcome of our careful consideration and thorough assessment of the application, and we are satisfied that the facility will meet the high standards set by the UK Government and Europe.

"We are imposing strict conditions in the permit to ensure that local people and the environment are protected."

Jon England, Peel Energy project manager, welcomed the decision: “It adds to the considerable weight of evidence put forward during the planning application process to Trafford Council from air quality experts - including Trafford’s own independent specialists – that BREP will pose no significant threat to public health.”

But Stretford and Urmston MP Kate Green said: “I’m very disappointed to hear this news. I wrote to the chairman of the Environment Agency months ago to say that a decision should not be made on the permit until after the public inquiry, and shouldn’t pre-empt the outcome.

"The focus now turns to the public inquiry. I will be speaking at the inquiry to voice the concerns constituents have raised with me.”

Jo Burgess, founder member of BCAG, condemned the decision as 'completely irresponsible'.

She added: "Peel need two permits and this is only one of them. It is now absolutely essential that BCAG and all of the local community focus our attention on stopping the planning permit at the forthcoming planning inquiry.

"We need people to attend the Inquiry and speak to voice their concerns."

BCAG is taking legal advice on whether it can challenge the decision.