A VARIATION application to reduce the size of the approved Davyhulme power plant proposal has been given the green light Trafford Council’s planning committee.

Barton Renewable Combined Heat and Power Plant went before planning chiefs at Trafford Town Hall on Thursday February 11.

The planning application was to vary design and layout aspects of the dual-purpose plant, which would be located on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal.

The original power plant application, to solely supply energy, was approved in 2013. Trafford Council refused to grant permission but this decision was overturned on appeal.

After putting the plans on hold, Peel Energy decided to incorporate heat supply into the scheme, creating a dual purpose plant.

The existing plant consent, granted by the Secretary of the State, remains extant until May 2017.

The application, which was recommended for approval, attracted many members of the public to Thursday’s meeting, including opponents Breathe Clean Air Group (BCAG).

David Fernandes-Arias spoke on behalf of BCAG and Cllrs Andrew Western and Catherine Hynes also spoke against the proposal.

David called for the council to ‘act to protect’ residents and refuse the application, whilst Cllr Hynes said it ‘posed a substantial threat’ to the health of people in the surrounding area.

Cllr Western said that a reduction in the site would increase fuel transportation on Davyhulme’s roads.

"What is green about a variation application that increases CO2 emissions to and from the site?", he said.

This point was disputed by Jonathan England, who spoke in favour on behalf of the applicant. He said that traffic generated would not change, the environmental impact had been found to be acceptable and the development would 'set a benchmark for future schemes'.

"The changes to the scheme do not give rise to additional impact,” he added.

Debate was opened by Cllr Michael Whetton who said he opposed the original plan but that 'with nil enthusiasm' he would go with officers’ recommendation to grant as the council cannot prevent the existing scheme from going ahead.

Cllr Laurence Walsh thanked BCAG and said ‘they are the voice of our residents and Trafford community.’ “We are elected by them and will be judged by them,” he added. "I can't support this application I don't accept the operation of the facility is safe."

Chair Cllr Vivienne Ward reminded Cllr Walsh that that the committee was solely determining the variation application, and not the approved plan.

“We can’t reinvent the wheel,” she said. “They can start work on the existing proposal tomorrow.”

Cllr Walsh said a bit of leeway should be allowed in the debate. “I’m really quite emotional about this,” he said. “This shouldn’t be forced upon us.”

Cllr Daniel Bunting echoed Cllr Ward and said that the committee must focus their attentions on the amended plan. “We lost and we have to live with the fact that we lost,” he said. “We can’t wind back time and start all over again as much as would love to.”

Kingsway Primary School, which is near the site, was identified as being in the top 10 most polluted schools in the country, and this was highlighted by both opposing speakers and committee members.

“That is appalling,” said Cllr Dolores O’Sullivan. “We should be doing something to decrease the pollution not increase it.”

After further debate, the application was approved, with nine voting in favour and three against.

Members of the public called out 'Think of the children' and 'It's a disgrace' before leaving the room.

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