Thursday, 30 June 2016

Protos Community Forum - AGM and business meeting

Today we've had the latest Protos Community Forum AGM and a business meeting.  Protos - if you haven't noticed before - is the new name for Peel Environmental Ince Resource Recovery Park.  'Protos' is Greek for first.

Everyone in Frodsham should have had a letter drop from Protos.  If you haven't you can find out information online at thisisprotos.com .  You can also find some photographs and drone footage of the development site there too.

The latest news is that Peel have started the ground works including their associated road works, drainage and sewer works for their massive 126 acre (51 ha) development site.  The biomass development site is also under construction.  The 85m stack will be constructed in July.  Interestingly they are pondering whether to build the building and install the plant - or install the plant and then build the building around it.

Covanta have renewed their interest in an energy from waste scheme - albeit on a smaller scale than before.  You and I would describe both these developments as incinerators. 

The Air Quality monitoring equipment will be in place and operational in mid September this year - a year ahead of the likely commissioning date for the incinerator.

An application for planning permission for this Covanta scheme is likely to go before CWaC's planning committee in the autumn.

Peel will also be seeking amendments to their planning permission for plot 3 - their timber recycling plot soon.

I raised concerns regarding national cycle route 5 ('NCR 5') which passes through plot 4 on the site.  NCR 5 is to be diverted as part of the works.  I've asked for Peel to co-ordinate with their wind farm colleagues and look to enhance the quality of the cycle routes over the Frodsham and Ince marshes.

At the AGM we agreed that representatives from Thornton-Le-Moors can join the community forum.  Thornton has around 260 residents.  I raised the need to ensure that when it comes to discussing the community benefit fund arising from the Protos developments that we ensure that the larger communities such as Frodsham and Helsby don't lose out just because they have larger Town and Parish councils - and thus many fewer Councillors per head than small communities such as Ince and Thorton etc.  That will be on the agenda at the next meeting.

Peel were challenged as to their use of local contractors and their support of local apprentices both during the construction and operational phase of their sites.  This is an issue that will continue to be raised with Peel I'm sure.

The wind farm was mentioned - all the turbines are set to be erected by the end of July.  The Frodsham turbines are all erected.  Work on the Helsby turbines continues.  The recent poor weather has delayed their construction.   Each turbine will be individually commissioned later this year.

We learnt that there are proposals to build a standby electricity generation site alongside the fertiliser plant.  Apparently this will be a gas fired installation able to generate electricity on very short notice - no doubt balancing when the wind doesn't blow.

I raised fracking at the forum and asked Peel Energy directly what their position was.  Curiously seismic testing didn't take place on the Helsby part of the wind farm sites.  Peel Energy did, in contrast, allow their land to be tested - as did the Ship Canal company (another Peel entity).

Peel confirmed that they would permit it to take place on their land.  I enquired whether they would permit it even if the local community were opposed to it?  I've asked that Peel consider this question over the summer and return to the forum in September with a considered answer.

I also asked whether Peel would agree to open these community forum meetings up to the public either directly or via web casting.  This will be debated at our next meeting in September.

One of the interesting side benefits of meeting at the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum is watching the traffic on the ship canal.