Rubbish incinerator environment fears

SUFFOLK'S environment will suffer if proposals to burn 200,000 tonnes of rubbish a year to solve the county's waste dilemma are given the go-ahead, campaigners have warned.

SUFFOLK'S environment will suffer if proposals to burn 200,000 tonnes of rubbish a year to solve the county's waste dilemma are given the go-ahead, campaigners have warned.

As exclusively revealed in The Evening Star yesterday, half of Ipswich's homes could be powered by a waste incinerator if a half-billion pound proposal gets the go-ahead.

The new incinerator could be in operation by 2013, a year before the last landfill site in the county could become full.

Council bosses have emphasised it is highly unlikely a possible incinerator would be sited near Ipswich or any other major town in Suffolk.

However Friends of the Earth have slammed the county council scheme as “rubbish”.

Mary Edwards, regional co-ordinator at the charity, said there is no way burning such a huge amount of waste can be justified and the CO2 gases produced would pollute the environment.

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Mrs Edwards said: “They need to be looking at increasing recycling rates and minimising the rubbish we produce.

“It is crazy to think they could end up burning material that could be recycled.”

She added that it was feasible for local authorities to achieve close to a 100 per cent recycling rate for rubbish, minimising the need to find ways of disposing of remaining waste.

Homes and businesses in Suffolk currently produce 370,000 tonnes of rubbish a year of which 39 pc is recycled, leaving around 225,700 tonnes a year to dispose of.

Council chiefs forecast increasing the recycling rate to 60 pc in the medium-term.

The Conservative administration is also coming under pressure from the county council Labour Group which also argues resources should be targeted at dramatically increasing recycling rates rather than building an incinerator.

Sandy Martin, Labour spokesman for environment, waste and economic development, said: “Giant incinerators will cost Suffolk more in council tax, affect local house prices and pollute Suffolk's environment.

“We need new household waste centres, more bottle banks, weekly collection of communal bins from flats, and various other measures.”

The incinerator proposal, which would cost the council around £20million-a-year over 25 years, is due before Suffolk County Council's cabinet on October 31.

If the plans are rubber-stamped the search for an incinerator site is likely to start next year.

Is an incinerator the right way to dispose of rubbish? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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