TATA is moving ahead with its new energy plant in Lostock Gralam as planned, five years after it was given planning permission.

The company had until Monday, October 2 to begin work on the site under the terms of the permission it was granted in 2012.

But a spokesman at Tata has told the Guardian it has begun work clearing the former Brunner Mond coal site, which meets the needs of planning chiefs in order for the chemicals giant to carry on with its project.

The spokesman said: “Work has begun on the site of the new energy from waste facility at Lostock, starting with the initial clearing of the old site and premises.

“The project continues in accordance with the appropriate planning permissions.

“We will provide updates as the construction project progresses.”

The new sustainable energy plant, which is separate from the proposed Dong energy site, is set to produce electricity for the National Grid by burning 600,000 tonnes of refuse, while Tata will take steam from the process for its chemical operations.

At a Lostock liaison committee meeting in August, Tata announced that construction of the plant is expected to take three years, after the completion of asbestos removal, replacement and relocation of key electrical and water treatment facilities, replacement and relocation of offices, workshops, storage facilities, and demolition.

Liam Byrne, from the Cheshire Anti-Incinerator Network (CHAIN), told the Guardian: “Many residents thought that the threat had gone away – that the five years had passed and it had all gone quiet.

“They had relaxed, and many have been saying that the plan has gone and we’ve got nothing to worry about, but that is not the case.

"CHAIN will continue to monitor the situation within our limited resources but local people who care are going to have to get more involved.”