Simonswood medical waste incincerator Culzean WE c Google Earth

The proposed site for the medical waste incinerator in Simonswood, which sits within West Lancashire borough. Credit: Google Earth

Lancashire approves medical incinerator despite fierce opposition

Thousands of nearby residents had objected to Culzean W2E’s plans to build the facility at  Simonswood Industrial Park – but it was not enough to derail Lancashire County Council from voting to approve the application.

County councillors voted four to three to approve the application after a two-hour debate at the 7 December development control committee meeting. Two councillors abstained from voting.

The 13,100 sq ft incinerator complex will be capable of processing 4,000 tonnes of medical waste each year, according to the planning application submitted by consultant Oaktree Environmental.

The waste would largely be categorised as ‘yellow bag’, meaning it could contain infectious materials such as swabs, protective clothing, lab specimens, chemicals, or diagnostic kits. Orange bag waste, which requires a heat treatment before it is incinerated, could also be accepted.

The medical waste will be destroyed using pyrolysis. This process will involve heating the waste up to 850 degrees Celsius without allow it to interact with oxygen. This will result in the creation of an ash-like substance and synthetic gasses. These gasses will then go to another chamber and be destroyed in 1,100-degree heat.

The heat from this second chamber will also provide the heat required for the first to help continue the process.

A steam turbine will convert the thermal heat generated from the plant into electrical energy.

To build the incinerator, Culzean W2E will have to demolish a dilapidated storage facility currently sitting on the site.

Culzean W2E said its plans would create 12 jobs.

More than 3,500 people signed a letter objecting to the scheme. Another 1,384 sent formal objections to the county council. Knowsley Council and West Lancashire Council both shared their opposition to the project.

Objections to the scheme stemmed, in part, from fears over the health risks of such a facility. Consultancy Atkins had been recruited by the county council to look into the air quality and human health risks associated with the project. The subsequent report found that there was no fundamental concern regarding the health impacts of the air emissions from the incinerator.

While the county council has signified it is minded to approve the application, the secretary of state issued a letter in October requesting the council to hold off on issuing a decision notice until the secretary can decide whether or not to call the application in.

For more information on the project, its application reference number with Lancashire County Council is LCC/2022/0003.

Your Comments

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Apparently it was mentioned at the committee meeting that the secretary of state has decided not to call this application in! Disgusting behaviour from those councillors abstaining from the vote.

By Abots

What a pointless photograph. It shows nothing and gives no indication of where it is.

By Gric

How is it possible to say,with 2 abstentions that there was a majority in favour.Surely the secretary of state should have called this application in.The amount of complaints warrants a full investigation from an independent authority.

By Raymond Sephton

Absolutely despicable decision to approve this. The councillors that abstained should be removed from there position.

By Anonymous

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