'WELL over' 100 people turned out in protest over plans to bring a gasification plant north of Carlisle

The community action over the weekend in Rockcliffe comes after North West Recycling put forward plans for an 'embedded waste fuel gasification and combined heat and power (CHP) generation facility', with many unfurled banners reading 'say no to gasification'. 

The proposed site at units on Kingmoor Park Rockcliffe Estate will heat waste to break it down into a gas named syngas if approved, which can be used for electricity generation or refined into other chemicals and fuel.

It has since met opposition from environmental groups as well as the Rockcliffe Parish Council, with many citing environmental and 'transparency' concerns within the application process. 

News and Star: David Mudge, of Carlisle Residents Against Incinerator, calls for 'transparency'David Mudge, of Carlisle Residents Against Incinerator, calls for 'transparency' (Image: Supplied)

The Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Carlisle, Brian Wernham, was among the attendees at the Rockcliffe Village Green on Sunday (January 28). 

"I was amazed at the turnout at the Rockcliffe Village Green yesterday. I counted well over 100 people which is a great proportion of the adult population of the village," he said.

"Just over two years ago there was a major fire of plastics and other combustible materials near Rockcliffe which continued for weeks. Rockcliffe residents had to keep their windows shut for six weeks."

He also voiced concerns over how increasing industrial activity, including the proposed gasification plant, might affect the local charity Heathlands, given its focus on providing a calm, clean environment for those with learning and physical disabilities.

"Lib Dems strongly support residents' campaigns and action groups as we believe that decisions should be taken at the lowest possible local level, not by council executive committees far away in Workington," he said. 

Sally Tears, from the Rockcliffe and District Action Group, shared concerns about a perceived lack of transparency from the planning department.

"The turnout yesterday shows how, as a community, we are united against any further industrial development of this protected area and we are determined to keep asking for public consultation and transparency from the planning department.

"Why are they hiding behind this wall of secrecy they appear to have built, what are they afraid of us discovering?" 

The protest followed shortly after a consultation on the plan closed on January 19

A spokesperson from North West Recycling said: "A comprehensive planning application has been submitted, including full technical details.

"The company has fully engaged with the planning authority during the consultation period and at this time we have nothing further to add."