Incinerator Verdict

Very disappointed that the High Court has confirmed the decision of the Planning Inspectorate allowing the incinerator to go ahead at Barton. I'm disappointed but not totally surprised. The legal grounds presented in argument always seemed shaky at best and centred around the sustainability of a wood waste supply.

There is a finite supply of wood waste but had the appeal been won, it would be difficult to see any future plant being developed no matter what the technology.

My main argument against this plant is that we live in an overly polluted area. The site of the Barton Plant is adjacent to the M60, one of our busiest motorways. We've allowed a shopping mall to be built there that's almost impenetrable to any mode of transport except the car; certainly pedestrians and cyclists are deterred. The Environment Agency accepts that as a consequence, primarily of road transport, the pollution levels exceed the allowable levels all the way along the M60 here. Yet we're not allowed to challenge the ludicrous decision of the Environment Agency to still permit the plant to operate at Barton.

And now we're being subjected to a rogue's gallery of Conservative candidates protesting how disappointed they are with the decision. This is the same Conservative Party that destroyed the buses, privatised the railways and built places like the Trafford Centre. Is it surprising the system is so rigged that we must not try to tackle air quality? We can tiptoe round the edges and ask how much wood-waste they can get their hands on. But don't whatever you do suggest that the Tory way of travel is affecting our health. Because it is.

So has the process of opposing been worthwhile? Absolutely – in my view it's been a coming of age. There's been an exponential growth in awareness of  environmental consequences and far more readiness to fight the next battle.