ENVIRONMENT Agency officials have given their permission for an £8m waste incinerator in Somercotes - a week after a high-profile public protest against the plan.
The Environment Agency issued an environmental permit for the energy from waste facility at Pye Bridge Industrial Estate.
Their approval, announced on Wednesday, came 11 days after campaigners fighting the scheme staged a 100-strong demonstration at the proposed site.
Officials from the agency said they decided to approve the permit after seeing Warwick Energy Pye Bridge’s plans to ensure human health and the environment are not affected by the facility.
A Derbyshire County Council planning committee still has to approve the plans at a meeting later this year.
Steve Proffitt, the agency’s pollution prevention control team leader said: “We have carefully considered all the responses and have issued this permit because we are satisfied it contains the necessary conditions and control measures to ensure that Warwick Energy Pye Bridge Limited operate in a way that will protect both the environment and human health.
“Issuing the permit is only the first stage in our regulation of the facility.
“Should it be built, we will monitor its environmental performance, including emissions to air, to ensure that permit conditions are not breached.”
Warwick Energy Pye Bridge Limited will operate the facility, which burns the gas produced from gasification of waste, using the resulting energy to generate electricity.
But protesters including campaign group Amber Valley Against Incinerators (AVAIN) believe the plan will increase pollution and affect the health of children and adults.
At the 2nd July public protest, AVAIN chairman Simon Lee pledged the group will continue fighting the plan.
More than 100 residents from Alfreton, Selston, Ironville and Jacksdale joined the group in opposing the plans.
Further protests will be held ahead of any Derbyshire County Council planning decision, Mr Lee has said.
AVAIN has already issued an 85-page document opposing the plan to Derbyshire County Council.
Agents acting for the applicants describe the plan as an ‘innovative renewable energy project’ which could aid the council’s efforts to divert waste from landfill.