Sutton Bridge residents use coffin in protest against gasifier

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Protesters wearing protective masks and carrying a coffin delivered a petition to South Holland District Council on Wednesday (July 23) asking them to keep death from their doorstep.

Nearly 1,000 people are opposing a £300million gasifier power station with 12 80-metre high chimneys being built on an industrial site at Wingland, neighbouring Sutton Bridge.

Sutton Bridge has a gas-fired power station – but if a second one in the pipeline gets consent, along with the hugely controversial wood-fuelled, biomass power station, villagers will live in the shadow of 17 chimneys.

Residents fear air pollution from the combined emissions will put lives on the line and are worried about the potentially life-threatening fire risk following a string of massive blazes involving wood-based biomass at plants around the country.

Protester Jenny Rowe said: “The World Health Organisation has found that air pollution is more carcinogenic than secondhand cigarette smoke.

“Other countries are not building these any more. You have only got to look at the one at Dumfries in Scotland – their EA (Environment Agency) has said it’s their dirtiest polluter.

“The district council hasn’t even considered the fire risk. We can show you no end of places where this stored wood waste goes up in flames and it takes days and days to put it out.”

Great-granny Shirley Giles (74) handed in the petition asking the district council to call upon the Secretary of State to hold a public inquiry into the EnergyPark Sutton Bridge amended planning application.

Some 946 people have signed it, saying “South Holland Planning Committee, by their own admission, are unable to make a competent decision due to the complexity of this planning application”.

The planning committee last year approved the EnergyPark plant, but Mrs Giles fought the council in the High Court and the committee’s decision was found to be unlawful on a key issue concerning sustainability.

Mrs Giles said residents in King’s Lynn – 12 miles from Sutton Bridge – already suffer from asthma because of poor air quality and that will get worse if more power stations are added.

She asked: “Who is going to look after our kids if we don’t?”

Mrs Giles says Sutton Bridge people would be “wiped off the face of the earth” if a fire at the biomass plant triggered explosions at the gas-fired power stations and it’s the wrong site with 300-400 food factory workers and homes based so close.