Anger over short trips to incinerator

COUNTY chiefs want to place a controversial incinerator close to a major population so dump trucks don't have to travel too far, The Evening Star can reveal today.

COUNTY chiefs want to place a controversial incinerator close to a major population so dump trucks don't have to travel too far, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The admission emerged after Suffolk County Council answered ten key questions posed by the Star relating to the choice of Great Blakenham as the preferred site for a £500million waste burning plant.

Great Blakenham, is just six miles from Ipswich, a town with a population of around 120,000.

Fears have already been raised about the health implications of such a facility and the council has been accused of a lack of transparency after refusing to reveal five other sites also shortlisted as possibilities.


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Andrew Cann, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Suffolk County Council, has criticised the Conservative administration for actively seeking to place the waste burning incinerator close to a big population.

He said: “It is astounding that Suffolk County Council actually looked for a site close to a high population.

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“Doesn't that show disregard for the very real concerns people have about incineration?

“It seems to be in line with their consideration that health impacts are secondary to commercial interests.”

Peter Welham, head of campaign group SAIL, which stands for Suffolk Against Incineration & Landfill, said he was surprised by the council admission.

He said: “It does seem odd to me to suddenly come up with this when there seems to have been very little consultation.

“Very few people have decided what's good for the 700,000 people of Suffolk.

What do you make of the council's answers? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>

1) Why have you chosen one of the most populated parts of Suffolk for this incinerator?

We want to put the residual waste facility close to a major centre of population to keep waste lorry movements to a minimum.

2) What other sites were looked at and can you name them so the public of Suffolk can take part in an informed debate?

For legal reasons we are not in a position to say at this stage. We looked at over 70 possible sites and until the final location was chosen, it may not be in the local interests of local residents and council tax payers to disclose this list.

3) Have you studied the possible effects on local heavily-populated areas nearby? Have you carried out surveys in each of Claydon, Blakenham, Whitehouse, Whitton and other parts of Ipswich?

There is no evidence that an energy from waste facility will have any impact on the health of local residents. The council has drawn upon the large amount of work carried out by the government, including governments through-out Europe, to establish that energy from waste is safe. If there was any doubt about the safety of an energy from waste facility, the county council would not consider building one. If it was not safe the Environment Agency would not allow us to build it.

4) What research have you done into health risks - what about dioxins? Why is Suffolk going ahead with an incin-erator when Norfolk decided the health risks were too great?

Again, there is no evidence that an energy from waste facility will have any impact on the health of local residents. The council has drawn upon the large amount of work carried out by the government, including governments throughout Europe, to establish that energy from waste is safe. If there was any doubt about the safety of an energy from waste facility, the county council would not consider building one. If it was not safe the Environment Agency would not allow us to build it.

5) Have you realised the prevailing wind is from a westerly direction and that Ipswich is immediately to the east of the proposed location?

The wind direction is irrelevant given our answers above.

6) When the sugar beet factory was in operation at Sproughton, despite a chimney, people in large parts of Ipswich could smell the outpourings. How can you ensure that the proposed stack at Blakenham will not send its contents into both streets nearby and further afield?

The facility that used to be in operation in Sproughton was a different type of technology compared to an energy from waste facility. An energy from waste facility is modern and has many regulations it must follow, which are set out by the Environment Agency including the regulation of smells.

7) Are you ready for the public inquiry that will inevitably follow your decision?

It is not inevitable. It is a matter for the Minister to consider whether any public inquiry would be necessary. If a planning application is made, in 2011, to build an energy from waste facility at Great Blakenham we are confident that the minister would find this a suitable site.

8) There is likely to be a new nuclear station for Sizewell, why not build the incinerator there - the prevailing wind would carry emissions out to sea?

The emissions do not present a risk to public health so the prevailing wind is not an issue.

9) Have you explained your rationale for an incinerator to the people of Suffolk and, if so, how did you do this?

We have had a large number of events across the county and publicised our intentions widely including on our website. We currently favour energy from waste as it is a good environmental choice for the council tax payer and we know it can work for Suffolk. When we consulted the residents of Suffolk, via an independent opinion poll, 63 per cent of Suffolk people surveyed said they would support energy from waste through incineration as a treatment for waste that cannot sensibly be composted or recycled.

The county council currently favours energy from waste but if a contractor comes forward with another proposal which proves to be effective, the council will give it serious consideration.

10) Was the site only chosen because it is owned by the county and no other landowner was prepared to sell land for this use?

No, the site was not chosen because the county council already owns it. The site was chosen against the following criteria:

Physical issues - is the site big enough, available and suitable for construction

Location - does the site conform with the policies of the waste local plan

Environmental - what are the impact on the environment

Acceptability - does the site have access to good transport infrastructure

Economic - what will be the cost of any required infrastructure

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