Developers hope GM Waste Plan will calm residents’ fears

A public examination will begin on 28 June into the long-awaited Greater Manchester Waste Plan, following four years of consultation.

The new plan is expected to be adopted by the ten local authorities of Greater Manchester in January next year and will set out the appropriate sites for waste management facilities to be located in a policy lasting until 2027.

Daniel Whitney, planning consultant at Mosaic Town Planning Manchester, said: "Greater Manchester, as with every other sub-region, is facing the challenge of building a low carbon economy. It is hoped that the Waste Plan, which will set out a strategy up to 2027, will assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions partly through encouraging the recovery of heat and energy from waste.

"The draft Waste Plan promotes the provision of combined heat and power generation within waste management facilities. This is a carbon-efficient technology which utilises the heat generated by combustion for both electricity generation and the provision of steam for industrial processes."

The Waste Plan allocates both smaller specific sites and larger areas for waste facilities as part of mixed-use development. These include the 27-acre Carrington vehicle storage site which was successfully promoted by Mosaic on behalf of Stevenor Investments.

The draft plan names ten existing sites for waste facilities as well as another 25 areas earmarked for future waste management use.

Whitney added: "In the past decade there have been significant improvements in the technological and environmental standards of waste management facilities, with many types now only having a minimal impact upon so-called 'sensitive receptors'. However, the hopes of encouraging a low carbon economy in this way could be dealt a blow by public perceptions that such facilities are amongst the worst forms of bad-neighbour uses. Proposals therefore often come under considerable fire from local residents groups. For example, despite officer support, Salford City Council recently rejected a proposal for the Green Lane Eco-Park recycling and renewable energy centre on a vacant brownfield site near Eccles. Local people voiced their concerns over the potential impact upon air quality, visual amenity and increased traffic.

"This site was considered as suitable within the Preferred Options stage of the Waste Plan report, before being withdrawn due to the council considering it to be premature pending wider regeneration."

Once the Waste Plan is adopted the allocations should help to provide greater certainty to developers and providers of waste management facilities. However, the Waste Plan and its allocations will not eliminate the existence of strong local objection towards a controversial land-use.

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