Lines drawn in battle for Blakenham
SAVE Blakenham!Today we call on county chiefs to come clean on a bid to build a massive waste incinerator slap bang in the middle of Suffolk amid fears it is a health risk.
Today we call on county chiefs to come clean on a bid to build a massive waste incinerator slap bang in the middle of Suffolk amid fears it is a health risk.
Politicians and campaign groups have rounded on Suffolk County Council after it announced plans to place the £500million waste burning plant at Great Blakenham.
The Evening Star is now calling on the powers that be to answer ten key questions on how the decision was made.
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The proposed site is close to the A14 and just six miles from the centre of Ipswich, a town with a population of 120,000.
It is feared the incinerator:
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Will place people's health at risk
Will emit fumes, that subject to wind direction, will blow towards Ipswich
Will be a blot the landscape
Potentially affect house prices
Calls are already being made for a public inquiry on the issue while a leading politician has pointed to a health study apparently showing increases in infant deaths downwind of other incinerators in the UK.
It is also claimed the entire process lacks transparency because the council is refusing to reveal five other sites that were shortlisted as possibilities.
County chiefs are steadfastly defending their decision, claiming an incinerator poses no known health risks and the site could still be subject to change.
Eddy Alcock, responsible for environment and waste management at Suffolk County Council, said: “I have no concerns at all.
“I am perfectly content with the decision as I know it's the right decision for Suffolk. There is absolutely no evidence to indicate any health risk.
“Suffolk County Council is a responsible organisation and would not consider it if it believed there were any health risks.
“All the evidence points to this being a perfectly safe solution.”
He added that he feels a public inquiry into the decision is not needed.
He said: “A public inquiry is up to the public but there is no reason to believe a public inquiry is necessary.
“We would be putting an industrial building onto an industrial site.
“The successful tender would have to seek planning permission in the usual way which would be intense and involved.”
The incinerator option, which includes producing electricity to power homes in Suffolk, would cost council taxpayers £541m over a 28-year period from 2011, while a biological treatment alternative has been costed at £893m, 69 per cent more expensive.
The project is being proposed as the only viable way to dispose of rubbish because the county is running out of landfill waste.
County chiefs claim earmarking Great Blakenham as the preferred site does not necessarily mean the incinerator could not be placed elsewhere.
A spokesman for the council said the authority had to choose a site to invite bids from developers although they will be open to competitive proposals for development at other sites.
What do you make of plans to build a waste incinerator at Great Blakenham? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail email@example.com
CALLS are already being made for a legal investigation into the county council's waste incinerator plans.
Andrew Cann, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Suffolk County Council, said he feels there are a lot of questions that need answering and a public inquiry is the only way forward.
He said: “The county council has selected a site which they own but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best site in Suffolk.
“I suspect they selected that site because it means they determine whether it has planning permission or not.
“Any other developer or any other site not owned by the county council is subject to a full public inquiry and determination by an independent inspector and the secretary of state.
“I am calling for the secretary of state to call in any future planning determination for an incinerator at Great Blakenham or indeed any other site in Suffolk.
“It's important that the county council is not allowed to be both the judge and jury on its own development.”
“Wouldn't it have been nice if a letter had been sent to residents about this beforehand so they could have a say?” he said.
“I'm obviously very concerned about this.
“It will make life hell for people in the nearby houses.
“All along we have been told that there would be six possible sites for an incinerator, what happened to the other five?
“With this project all the same issues and problems which the SnOasis development churned up will apply to this.
“Also, is it right jeopardise our recycling waste unit for this?”
Babies at risk?
AN ALARMING report shows that infant deaths more than doubled in five suburbs downwind of where an incinerator stands in Coventry.
The UK Health Research study claims there were 8.2 deaths per 1,000 infants compared to just 3.2 per 1,000 in the five areas upwind of the Cheylesmore incinerator between 2003 and 2005.
A similar study in the London boroughs of Haringey, Enfield and Waltham Forest showed infant deaths more than four times higher in the area downwind of an incinerator in Edmonton.
It showed 10.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in the area downwind of the incinerator, compared to only 2.6 per 1,000 live births in the suburbs upwind.
A study of Bexley in London showed zero deaths per 1,000 in the upwind area compared to 8.6 per 1,000 in the areas downwind.
The study was compiled by Michael Ryan BSc C Eng, a member of the institution of Chartered Civil Engineers.
Health risks - ragout of last week's story.
JUST last week county chiefs were criticised for not placing a high enough value on the health of Suffolk residents as part of plans to build a massive waste incinerator.
An outline business case for the future of waste management in the county appeared to show that more importance was placed on disposal of residue from the treatment processes than the impact on health of Suffolk residents.
A section of the report shows “environmental impact” - the impact on health of Suffolk residents - as being given “high” weighting in deciding the future of waste treatment in the county.
However “offtake risk” - the risk associated with getting rid of residues from the treatment process - was given a “very high” weighting.
Great Blakenham view
RESIDENTS in Great Blakenham today spoke of their anger about an incinerator being built in the village.
Suffolk County Council chose the site from six shortlisted locations after whittling down the options from a possible 70 locations.
The Suffolk incinerator was proposed as the only viable way to dispose of rubbish because the county is running out of landfill waste.
Many residents living in Chapel Lane, whose houses would be the closest to the proposed site, were shocked at the announcement.
With several of them also opposing plans for the Snoasis development, which includes a giant ski slope, ice rink, casino, nightclub, hotel, restaurants, railway station and hundreds of new homes, the prospect of an incinerator is seen as yet another blow for the village.
Pat Alderton (pictured), 60, said: “I would not be happy about having an incinerator. We get enough smells around here although I'm sure the council will say that we won't even know it is there. We are dealing with the Snoasis inquiry too at the moment and the main problem with that will be the traffic.
“It seems they want to fit everything in to Great Blakenham but there are lots of open spaces around which won't impinge on the village.”
Debbie Parker, 50, said: “It seems that Great Blakenham is a dumping ground for everything. The last we heard was there was going to be a fire service training centre on that site.
“I do not see the need for an incinerator here. In Norfolk they use a compost system and that seems to be much better.
“Maybe Snoasis will use the new incinerator in its advertising to attract even more tourists!
“I was not a fan of Snoasis. It will mean hundreds of houses and a railway station here. People say it is good for Ipswich, but it is not good for Great Blakenham.”
Helen Markillie (ok. Pictured), 52, said: “It is going to be awful. I wasn't here when there was a chimney at the cement works, which had lots of stuff coming out. I was against Snoasis too. They are both bad ideas.”
However one resident, Dougie Reid(pictured), 47, disagreed with the general view.
He said: “My first thought is that I don't want it but I suppose it depends on what type of incinerator it is. It sounds like it will be out of sight from my house and if it is eco-friendly, then I guess that is fine.”
n. Are you a resident who has a strong view about this subject? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org>
TODAY the Evening Star demands full answers to these questions:
1) Why have you chosen one of the most populated parts of Suffolk for this incinerator?
2) What other sites were looked at and can you name them so the public of Suffolk can take part in an informed debate?
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?
4) What research have you done into health risks - what about dioxins? Why is Suffolk going ahead with an incinerator when Norfolk decided the health risks were too great?
5) Have you realised the prevailing wind is from a westerly direction and that the townships of Claydon and Blakenham are immediately to the east of the proposed location?
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?
7) Are you ready for the public inquiry that will inevitably follow your decision?
8) New nuclear station for Sizewell, why not there - prevailing wind carry stuff out to sea with a new roads structure
9) Have you explained your rationale for an incinerator to the people of Suffolk and, if so, how did you do this?
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?