In order to improve navigation around the site,

Green menu at the top will give a general background to a subject (including links)
Blue menu will give the reader the most up to date posts on a subject.

The most recent posts are given below.

Star Lane Generator update
There are 3 applications pending
Status: Public consultation closes on the 2nd of May.
Please comment if you are concerned, ….
Status: Public consultation is closed but Pollution Control has asked the applicant to re submit the report as they ignored the M61 AQMA.
So once this report is issued comments will be opened again
These concerns have been raised……..
This is to change from 3 to 2 engines.
Status: Public consultation closed.

Greater Manchester Spacial Framework



Several potential  large sites, for housing development have been identified in Blackrod.

What do you think about the proposals ?

How many new houses should be built in Blackrod – to meet our falling population.

What has your local council – or neighborhood plan commitee  got to say about these proposals ?

Why has there not been a public meeting like the previous call for potential sites ?

The consultation was due to cloe 23 December 2016 has been extended but closes 16 January 2017



Remembrance Sunday 2017


The Blackrod Rembrance Day procesion will leave Heroe’s bar at 2.00 pm

The Laying of Wreaths at Blackrod Cenotaph will take place 13/11/2016 at 2.15.

The Service of Remembrance will be held at St Katharine’s Church at 3.00pm

Third Power Plant Approved

Under the radar !! Third power plant APPROVED in Blackrod / Horwich despsite comments from POLUTION CONTROL (worryingly nothing so strong for Moss Lane yet !!!) ….

“the air quality assessment DOES NOT adequately demonstrate the impacts of the proposals”
“In light of the above comments the application SHOULD BE REFUSED on the basis that development would have a substantial adverse impact on nitrogen dioxide in vicinity of the site and that applicant has failed to assess fully the impact of short term use of the site. ”

Errors found in additional information for Second Blackrod Power Plant

BLACKROD POWER PLANT UPDATE: Errors have been identified in the addtional information suplied in respect of Blackrod Power Plant and the serious impact on nearby residents, by BHEAG


Tuesday, 04 October 2016
Dear Sir / Madam,
We would like to draw your attention to errors in the supplemental information offered in support of application 97291/16.
The applicant states that “In short, it is considered highly unlikely that background NO2 concentrations at the Moss Lane flat have been underestimated by as much as 15.7 μg.m-3”.
The flats are on the edge of an AQMA whilst the actual background level is unknown it is certain that the levels are greater than 35 μg m-3 (This being the threshold for an AQMA area). The use of 20 μg m-3 as a background pollution level is therefore not acceptable for these properties.
Substituting the figure of 35 μg m-3 in the applicant’s calculations drastically reduces the headroom for short term exposure and equals the maximum long term exposure level. These figures are a great cause for concern especially as it is likely that the background levels are likely to be greater than 35.0 μg m-3.
The assessment of baseline conditions in the original assessment derived a long-term background NO2 concentration of 35.0 μg m-3. In this case, the short-term background concentration would therefore be 35.0 x 2 = 70.0 μg m-3. When this is added to the PC at Moss Lane, the PEC becomes 70.0 + 80.1 μg m-3 = 150.1 μg m-3.
The highest process contribution of 4.2 μg m-3 at Moss Lane represents 11% of the annual-mean limit value of 40μg.m-3. The assessment of baseline conditions in the original assessment derived a long-term background NO2 concentration of 35.0 μg m-3. Adding the PC of 4.2μg.m-3 to the background concentration of 35 μg m-3 gives a total predicted environmental concentration of 39.2 μg m-3, which falls into the ‘Substantial’ long-term impacts category.
Persons using the footpaths surrounding the facility would be subjected to much higher levels of pollution than even those living on Moss lane, should the short term pollution levels experienced on the footpaths not also be shown?
The assessment ignores the pollution implications on operations at the adjacent facility. Portakabin office blocks and outdoor working areas are very close to the proposed development so the assessment should have included an assessment of any impacts on the individuals working close to the facility.
Blackrod and HorwichEnvironmental Action GroupTwo Communities – One Cause
The use of background pollution levels from the DEFRA model and wind information for any of the 3 remote locations stated is wholly inappropriate and as such it gives no confidence in the report’s findings.
The IAQM guidelines state that “In some cases, it may be appropriate to carry out a period of air quality monitoring as part of an air quality assessment. This may be particularly helpful where new relevant exposure is proposed in a location with a complex road layout and/or topography, which may be difficult to model, or where there are no data available to verify the model“.
Detailed modelling (iaw LAQM.TG (09)) is appropriate in this case due to the proximity of the AQMA.
We believe the proximity of the SSSI also supports the requirement for detailed monitoring. A line source of NOx runs along the southern border of the moss that is known to have an annual mean level of greater than 35.0 μg m-3 (the AQMA threshold). As this is already greater than the SSSI critical annual mean level (30.0 μg m-3) it is clear the any further emissions will only serve to cause increased harm to the SSSI.
Supplemental Noise Assessment
The supplemental noise information offered by the applicant is totally irrelevant as it is nothing more than a statement of the analyst’s judgement.
The noise survey was not carried out in a satisfactory manner as
1) Noise measurements were not carried out in a suitable location. The location LT1 does not provide a barrier to motorway noise similar to that found in the amenity area of the flats.
2) No calculations of noise experienced by these flats has been provided merely a statement that the” development will not result in adverse impact the amenity of nearby residents”. (i.e. without monitoring and detailed calculations, including the impact of the building’s façade).
3) The fact that development noise will not be continuous has been ignored. Random noise is highly noticeable and intrusive.
4) The assessment also makes assumptions regarding the operations at the adjacent facility that they are in no position to.
Yours faithfully




Application Reference: 97204/16
Type of Application: Certificate of Proposed Lawful Use
Registration Date: 10/08/2016
Decision Due By: 04/10/2016
Responsible Officer:  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   – see Bolton Council website
Ward: Horwich and Blackrod
Applicant: Regenerco Limited
Agent : The Planning Law Practice
Officers Report
Recommendation: Refuse
An application for a certificate of lawful development (S192) has been submitted to the Local Planning
Authority for the proposed introduction of additional fuel inputs to an existing gasification plant
approval. The applicant submits that the additional fuel inputs proposed comprise a blend of wood
and Refuse Derived Fuel.
Site Characteristics
This is an existing farm located off the A6 Blackrod Bypass Road.
Surrounding the site is Douglas Valley golf course. To the immediate west of the application site are
the dwellings of The Willows, Markland Farm, Whitehill Farm, Whitehill House, Whitehill Cottage and
Rivington View, addressed as Grimeford Lane. To the north runs the Manchester to Blackpool
railway line and further north is the M61.
The site is within the Green Belt.
The Town and Country Planning Act 1990
The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015
The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended)
The Applicant submits that the approved gasification plant falls within use class B2 (general industrial)
and that the new proposal would also fall within use class B2 of the Use Class Order.
The Council’s Legal Services have been consulted and advise that both the existing approval and the
new proposal fall within use class ‘sui generis’ of the Use Class Order and therefore the proposal
constitutes a change of use.
The proposal constitutes a material change of use pursuant to Section 55 of the Town and Country
Planning Act 1990 and would therefore require planning permission.
The LPA considers that insufficient evidence has been submitted by the applicant upon which to
grant the certificate.
It is considered that the proposal requires planning permission and therefore the application is

First Repsone to Second Blackrod Power Station

123-1 123-2 123-3

Further Evidence Against Lawful Development of Blackrod Waste Incineration Plant

Application 97204/16

As the consultation period has now closed I have directed this directly to you as I think it is a serious issue that you should be aware of.
In a letter from the agent [letter from agent 21-Oct 2008] it was stated that facility would consume 61 tonnes of wood per day. That statement is contradicted by the technical information provided by the equipment manufacturers, BEL in document 49910_3. On page 6 of this document it states that each module consumed 250 kg of wood an hour and creates 250 Kwh of electricity. As the proposed facility has 16 modules (4Mwh) meaning the facility will consume 4 tonnes an hour or 96 tonnes a day.
Even though the agent provided incorrect information the correct tonnage is less than the 100 tonnes a day threshold (when an EIA is mandated). Therefore the original application was not compromised by the incorrect information. Unfortunately this is not the case for this latest application.
Defra state that the calorific value of wood is 14.7 Gj/tonne or 14.7 Mj/kg (table 11 of 2012 Guidelines to Defra / DECC’s GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting )
The calorific value of RDF is shown to be 6.5 Mj/kg Note 1 (section 3.2.2. Table 2 of A CLASSIFICATION SCHEME TO DEFINE THE QUALITY OF WASTE DERIVED FUELS pdf.pdf )
As the calorific value of RDF is less than wood more RDF will need to be used to generate the facilities 4 Mw of electrical energy.
96 tonnes of wood contain 1411.2 Giga joules of energy to generate this with RDF you would need 217 tonnes a day.
If a change of condition is granted in this case it would allow a facility to operate without carrying out an EIA that is mandatory for facilities burning more than 100 tonnes a day.
The applicant has not stated how much NOx will be emitted when using RDF as fuel. The wildlife trust commented on another application for a Biomass plant in the area that they were very concerned about NOx emissions on Red Moss SSSI. They stated in their comments on application 82447 (82447_09-A4_Wildlife_Trust_comments-151733.pdf)
“In particular I am very concerned about the effect which emissions from the proposed development will have on the Sphagnum mosses which occur on Red Moss. Deposition as low as 1 g/m2/yr of nitrogen can have a significant negative effect on Sphagnum growth (Gunnarsson and Rydin 2000). In addition due to the nature of Red Moss (it is a lowland raised bog) any nitrogen addition to the site will bio-accumulate in the bog and result in long term effects on the biodiversity and carbon storage potential of the site.”
These issues make it vital that this change should be considered by a full planning application.
There has been a material change to the facility in that a greater quantity of fuel will now be used.
If permission is granted by change of condition it will lead to a facility being approved without an EIA that will consume more than the 100 tonnes a day limit that requires a mandatory EIA.
The applicant does not detail the change in emissions resulting from the change to RDF so their impact on Red Moss SSSI cannot be assessed.


I have assumed the worst case energy value (class 5) as the application does not specify what if any class of RDF is to be used.
As this mechanism is seeking to change the definition of wood fuel to include RDF there would be no option to add another condition. So as the applicant would be free to use any fuel that conformed to the term RDF therefore it is reasonable to consider the RDF with lowest calorific value.

Waste Incineration Plant Planning Request, in Blackrod

Just five years after planning application was granted for a massive wood burning CHP, on the A6 bypass – which would only be suitable for burning (virgin) wood – a request has been made for a change of use into a waste incineration plant, without any assesment of the environmental impacts.…/applicationDetails.d…

Several letters of concern have been submitted.


97204      97204 BS


Nightingale Farm (update)

The government position on today’s decision –  it “will lead to parking misery”

The planning permission for access was approved today – with conditions the development was limited to 14 houses and no higher than two stories.

Cllr Cunliff commented to the effect that it would be good to prevent further retail development in our town center.
Paragraph 3, of OA1 – requiring the center of Blackrod to meet local needs was not even mentioned by the planning officer or Councillors.
The lack of parking was raised and councilors were told – that the guidelines identified maximum number of parking spaces, contrary to the government website which states ….

“The imposition of maximum parking standards under the last Administration lead to blocked and congested streets and pavement parking. Arbitrarily restricting new off-street parking spaces does not reduce car use, it just leads to parking misery. It is for this reason that the Government abolished national maximum parking standards in 2011!”…/parking_standards_annexes/pa…

An excellent objection speech from an effected resident, quoted Wigan council who set these “maximum” levels as the minimum standard which should be acceptable.

Nightingale Farm

‪#‎Blackrod‬‘s Nightingale Farm (previously the waste recycling centre), in the very center of the village, is likely to have a further 14 houses built on it – despite concerns from local residents and the Town Council who quoted Bolton’s Core strategy”AO1 para 3.

” Ensure the local center at Blackrod will continue to serve local needs.”

This key phrase appears to be missing from the officers report and summary of objections.

The Neighbourhood Plan – would likely also have also added weight to ensuring the town center served the needs of all local residents. This is the only suitable plot of land in the village – close to the center.

Everyone who has visited nearby residents appears to agree that the development will have an unacceptable impact on the neighborhood amenity.

At the present time none of the ward Councillors are able or willing to speak on behalf of residents at the planning committee – leaving residents with 2 minutes to put over their concerns.

The committee meeting is Thursday 2 June , 2pm – at Bolton Library – the public are invited to attend.

The officers report can be found…/95926_16-Officers_Re…

Peak oil – a thing of the past -or rather the future ?

The price of a barrel of oil has nearly halved in recent weeks. OPEC refuse to cut production – the argument to make USA shale un economic – removing the competition  – but also perhaps having a massive impact on Russia – whose economy significantly relies on the hydro-carbon industry.

It will no doubt be spring (perhaps just before the general election)  before we any large reduction in our home energy cost prices – as suppliers will no doubt say they have had to forward buy to cover the peak winter period. A freezing in price now looks a nonsense – as for the foreseeable future the price  direction is down.

The one sure looser is the environment . The incentive for investing in cleaner and sustainable  renewable energy diminishes.
What price our planet ?

Enough brownfield ‘for 1 million homes’

England has enough suitable “brownfield” land to build almost a million new homes, campaigners have said.

More than 400,000 homes could be built on previously developed land which already has outline or detailed planning permission, according to information from local authorities compiled by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

And over 550,000 more could be accommodated on vacant or derelict land that does not have planning permission, the research by CPRE said.

Almost half (44%) of the vacant space is located in the South East, East of England and London. In the capital, where there is huge pressure for housing, 146,000 homes could be built on brownfield land, a report by the organisation said.

In total the report identifies enough brownfield land for 976,000 homes, providing the country with a four-year supply of new housing even if no other land is used.

CPRE said the figure was an underestimate as it does not include underused land such as car parks which could be used for housing.

Some brownfield sites have been identified as important wildlife hotspots for creatures such as rare beetles, but CPRE said new research suggests just 8% of brownfield land is important habitat, leaving plenty for development.

But the campaign group is concerned that new national planning rules do not prioritise brownfield development, which means Green Belt and greenfield land is being built on instead.

Barriers to developing brownfield land include the costs of and providing local infrastructure, difficulties for small and medium-sized builders trying to get into the market, the availability of cheaper greenfield sites and the lack of accurate data on brownfield land, the report said.

Barriers to developing brownfield land include the costs of and providing local infrastructure, difficulties for small and medium-sized builders trying to get into the market, the availability of cheaper greenfield sites and the lack of accurate data on brownfield land, the report said.

CPRE is calling for the reintroduction of a clear and consistent “brownfield first” policy, and other measures to boost use of previously developed land.

These could include giving the Homes and Communities Agency greater powers and resources to develop large and difficult sites, a proactive approach to identifying brownfield land and incentives for smaller building firms to develop smaller sites.

Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at CPRE, said: “This research demonstrates the huge existing capacity for housing on brownfield land.

“At a time when there is great pressure on our green spaces, utilising this land through a brownfield first policy would protect our countryside and regenerate urban areas.

“We want this new, authoritative evidence to lead to a sustained focus on suitable brownfield land.

“We can and must do more to get these sites redeveloped, whether it be reviving the National Land Use Database or implementing strong local plans to deal with multiple landowners on difficult sites.”




Comet landing: Organic molecules detected by Philae

The Philae lander has detected organic molecules on the surface of its comet, scientists have confirmed.

Carbon-containing “organics” are the basis of life on Earth and may give clues to chemical ingredients delivered to our planet early in its history.

The compounds were picked up by a German-built instrument designed to “sniff” the comet’s thin atmosphere.

Other analyses suggest the comet’s surface is largely water-ice covered with a thin dust layer.

The European Space Agency (Esa) craft touched down on the Comet 67P on 12 November after a 10-year journey.

Dr Fred Goessmann, principal investigator on the Cosac instrument, which made the organics detection, confirmed the find to BBC News. But he added that the team was still trying to interpret the results.

It has not been disclosed which molecules have been found, or how complex they are. There’s a trade off – once it gets too hot, Philae will die as well. There is a sweet spot”

Prof Mark McCaughreanSenior science adviser, Esa

But the results are likely to provide insights into the possible role of comets in contributing some of the chemical building blocks to the primordial mix from which life evolved on the early Earth.

Preliminary results from the Mupus instrument, which deployed a hammer to the comet after Philae’s landing, suggest there is a layer of dust 10-20cm thick on the surface with very hard water-ice underneath.

The ice would be frozen solid at temperatures encountered in the outer Solar System – Mupus data suggest this layer has a tensile strength similar to sandstone.

“It’s within a very broad spectrum of ice models. It was harder than expected at that location, but it’s still within bounds,” said Prof Mark McCaughrean, senior science adviser to Esa, told BBC News.

“People will be playing with [mathematical] models of pure water-ice mixed with certain amount of dust.”


Pictures which make you think – The universe

The original series can be found

All the planets in our solar system would fit between earth and our moon

THINK AGAIN. Inside that distance you can fit every planet in our solar system, nice and neatly.


There are billions of stars in our galaxy –  – which is one galaxy of many.

But this is all you ever see:

(That’s not a picture of the Milky Way, but you get the idea.)


For a three minute animation –  see wow