A BID to ramp up capacity at a new energy plant in Lostock Gralam has been slammed as 'nothing short of scandalous' by the area's councillor.

LSEP Ltd wants to increase the amount of waste used as fuel at the Lostock sustainable energy plant from 600,000 to 728,000 tonnes a year.

The project is currently under construction and is expected to be complete by the end of 2023, with LSEP due to submit plans for the increase in capacity to Government later this year.

Cllr Mark Stocks, Conservative member for Shakerley on Cheshire West and Chester Council, has hit out at the proposal – which is expected to ramp up the number of lorry movements needed to and from the site.

He told the Guardian: "The latest proposal from the Lostock sustainable energy plant to increase capacity by 128,000 tonnes a year is nothing short of scandalous.

Cllr Mark Stocks, Conservative

Cllr Mark Stocks, Conservative

"The plant has not even been constructed yet and here they are wanting to increase capacity. We have yet to see the impact of the hundreds of wagons that will be required to supply the current approved plant on the highway network.

"There will be a huge impact on vehicle emissions and road safety along the A556, King Street, New King Street and Griffiths Road.

"The area around Rudheath roundabout is already an area with heavy vehicle congestion, before there are any lorries from the existing development adding to the situation. This also goes against the Government's climate change agenda."

LSEP Ltd is currently asking the public for its views ahead of a formal application, with Northwich Town Council having already raised concerns about the project at last week's meeting, along with the Cheshire Anti-incinerator Network (Chain) and Esther McVey MP.

Cllr Sam Naylor told the town council last week that vehicle movements would increase from an anticipated 276 to 434 per day, but LSEP insists the proposal will have environmental benefits by diverting more waste from landfill.

An LSEP spokesman said: "The LSEP will address two major challenges – how to manage our waste more sustainably and how to generate sustainable energy from non-fossil fuel energy.

"We plan to treat up to 728,000 tonnes of waste remaining after recycling which will result in 69.9MW of sustainable electricity being exported to the grid.

"We’re also looking at how heat from the facility could be supplied to local homes and industry through the development of a district heating network plus we are investigating the potential for electricity to be supplied directly to local businesses through private wire connections."

READ > Burton and Dorothy Perkins to disappear from the high street

The move comes just a year since the Government gave the go-ahead for the £480 million plant to increase its power capacity from 60MW to 90MW.

See lostocksep.fccenvironment.co.uk to have your say on the plans or call 0800 689 1095 for more information.