A NEW £300 million power station approved by the Government this week, could put lives at risk, warn anxious residents.

They fear the waste-fuelled plant to pump power into Ineos Chlor’s Runcorn chemical manufacturing site in Sandy Lane, Weston Point, could cause cancer.

“Our biggest fear is that more cancers will occur,” said Jeff Meehan, vice chairman of the Halton Action Group Against The Incinerator.

“We’ve already got the highest incidence of cancer of liver and kidneys in the UK.

“People will pay the price of this incinerator but it will be hidden because it will be so hard to identify.”

He blasted councillors for failing to call a public inquiry.

“We are appalled. The sole thing that made this go through is that Halton Council did not call for a public inquiry.

“We have been sold down the river.

“Ineos used bully-boy tactics saying if you don’t give us permission, we’ll shut the whole site. The council didn’t have the bottle to stand up against them.”

Halton MP Derek Twigg said: “I am disappointed there is not going to be a public inquiry. The majority of my constituents wanted one.”

Campaigners say 20 lorries a day will dump toxic ash beside Wigg Island yet only four per cent of the waste burned will come from Halton.

The rest, from Merseyside, Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington, would otherwise go to landfill.

Residents fear the 105-metre stack could deter investment.

The 100megawatt combined heat and power station will supply one fifth of the energy requirements to Ineos, the UK’s biggest single consumer of electricity.

Halton councillors supported the bid last August, provided 49 new health and safety conditiions were satisfield.

A council spokesman said: “The council will continue to monitor operations on site and work with Ineos to ensure the employment opportunities arising directly and indirectly from this.”

An Ineos ChlorVinyls spokesman said: “We are pleased the minister is satisfied that the proposed development will not pose a threat to human health or the environment.”

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks said: “It’s important that we move forward in tackling the UK’s waste problem.”

He said concerns expressed about the plant’s impact on human health would be addressed through planning conditions and environmental regulations.

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