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Political wrangle over Barrow biomass public talks

A POLITICAL row has broken out over a public debate about plans to build a biomass power station in Barrow.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock has arranged for a public meeting to be held at The Forum from 6pm until 8pm next Friday,(18/5) amid growing public concern over Centrica’s plans to build a biomass power station at Roosecote.

The panel at the meeting will include representatives from Centrica and Barrow Borough Council and will be chaired by Mr Woodcock.

Anti-power station group Furness Opposes Biomass (FOB) was invited to sit on the panel but the group said they had been unable to arrange for an expert to attend with only two weeks’ notice.

Now FOB member and Conservative borough councillor Ray Guselli has questioned whether the MP is impartial enough to chair the debate, given Mr Woodcock’s previously stated support for the biomass plan.

Cllr Guselli said: “Mr Woodcock has already come out in favour of the power station so how can he possibly expect people to see him as an independent chair for the meeting? As an elected MP, John Woodcock’s job is to listen to what the public say and represent their views, but in our opinion, he hasn’t done that.

“He is happy to support the parents campaigning against Stagecoach’s price increases and the Remploy workers losing their jobs because he sees an opportunity to make it a political thing, but he won’t support us.”

In his letter inviting residents to the meeting, Mr Woodcock said he was keen to discuss the proposals “in a way that doesn’t scare people unnecessarily”.

He told the Evening Mail: “Many local residents have contacted me about the plant in recent weeks and I appreciate them sharing their views.

“I think that the jobs and investment that the power station can provide will be good for the local economy – provided strict environmental standards can be met.

“There are a number of concerns that need to be addressed, which is why I am looking forward to hearing different perspectives on the issue at the meeting.” Centrica’s representative on the panel will be Tony Jarvis, head of thermal projects, who will be in charge of the new-build if the power station is given the green light by the government.

A Centrica spokesman said: “We think Roosecote is a great investment opportunity for Barrow and engaging with the community is important to us and that’s why we are happy to take part in this meeting.’’

Barrow Borough Council leader Dave Pidduck will also sit on the panel.

On the plans Cllr Pidduck said: “At the end of the day the council is only a consultee and the final decision will be made by the government.

“But I’m trying to make sure we have a balanced view.’’

l Evening Mail: Our View – See page 12

Have your say

Southampton Biomass rejected! http://www.andoveradvertiser.co.uk/business/9704411.Campaigners_reject_biomass_plans/

Here is the dynamite bit. Are you listenig Labour Council Leader Dave Pidduck?

Labour group leader Richard Williams, whose party pledged to oppose the plan in its manifesto, dubbed the latest design as “green wash”.

He said: “It is cosmetic and does not change the underlying rationale of the development. It is environmentally wrong, it's socially wrong and it's a purely opportunistic development.”

Any comment Dave? What is going on in Barrow? Why are these politicians so for it?

Posted by Scott on 14 May 2012 at 17:06

Sheffield Council who rejected the biomass is run by which political party?

Posted by Scott on 14 May 2012 at 17:02

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