Suffolk names waste treatment sites

FOUR incinerators could be built in Suffolk to handle waste disposal as the county council prepares for life after landfill.

Graham Dines

FOUR incinerators could be built in Suffolk to handle waste disposal as the county council prepares for life after landfill.

In a report published today, the county identifies the sites on which to dispose of the 600,000 tons of waste generated each year by households and businesses as well as a percentage of the rubbish from Greater London.

The sites allocated are the former sugar beet factory in Sproughton, the former airfield at Eye, Mason's landfill at Great Blakenham, and the council's highways depot at Great Blakenham.

The outcome of a 16 month public consultation will be a major relief to residents of Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, who were bitterly opposed to land at its former airfield being earmarked for a waste plant.

Although the council insists the disposal plants could harness new technologies instead of burning rubbish, the naming of the four sites will re-ignite the row over incinerators, with the Liberal Democrat group already indicating it will fight any attempt to approve their construction.

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Earlier this year, the county council chose two potential operators to work up proposals for an energy from waste plant on the Great Blakenham depot, producing electricity from the incineration process dealing with household refuse.

If that project goes ahead, there will be no need for a second waste disposal plant at the depot.

The sites have been chosen following a 16-month public consultation on Suffolk's plans for waste disposal, which sets out the planning strategy and policies for managing waste and includes the identification of strategic sites.

The strategy will go to the county's cabinet next month and will have to be approved by the full council at its December meeting.

Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads, transport and planning, said: “We are confident that four strategic sites will be sufficient for the treatment of Suffolk's residual waste and, as Stanton was the weakest site, I will be recommending that Cabinet approves its deletion from the core strategy.”

John Field, Liberal Democrat spokesman for environment and waste and councillor for Great Blakenham, said: “Incineration is completely unacceptable on sites close to population. Suffolk should use technology that is the least environmentally damaging practical option and locate it where it minimises the impact on residents.

“It surely creates a conflict when the same body is choosing the technology to be employed, selecting the site and deciding on whether or not to approve the plans for waste treatment plants.”

Four landfill sites will used to deal with refuse which cannot be burned and the council has named them as Layham, Thorington, Foxhall, and Masons at Great Blakenham.