Suffolk set for rubbish mountains?

PILING up landfill sites into huge mountains of waste is being considered as a radical solution to Suffolk's growing rubbish problem, it emerged today.

Neil Puffett

PILING up landfill sites into huge mountains of waste is being considered as a radical solution to Suffolk's growing rubbish problem, it emerged today.

The Evening Star can reveal that chiefs at Suffolk County Council are considering the possibility of continuing to throw waste on to landfill sites once they have reached capacity.

The move could see tonnes of rubbish pile up at the county's existing landfill sites - including Foxhall Landfill in Ipswich, and Masons Landfill at Great Blakenham - or elsewhere in the county.

However the council said it does not know how high the rubbish could get on these hills.

A consultation paper on the future of waste in Suffolk states there is only enough remaining space at current landfill sites to last until 2021.

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The possibility of filling mineral sites with landfill is suggested although the document concedes that piling up existing sites - a practice known as “land raise” - is another option.

Land raise is already in use in Cambridgeshire and Essex.

The county is currently considering an application to increase the level of waste at Great Blakenham by four metres - but this is expected to eventually settle back to the normal ground level.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “Even if we build an energy from waste plant (incinerator) you burn rubbish and there are still some elements to get rid of.

“Landfill space in Suffolk is running out and we have to look at options. Obviously this is a consultation at the moment and land raise is only one of the options on the table.”

She said nowhere had been identified for possible “land raise” hills in the county - although past experience would suggest that existing waste sites would be likely candidates.

The council currently recycles around 43 per cent of rubbish and has pledged to meet government targets to reduce the amount of landfill waste produced each year by 75,000 tonnes come 2013.

The spokesperson said there is always likely to be a need for space to dump waste because reaching 100 pc recycling rates is considered unrealistic.

Sandy Martin, Labour spokesman for environment and waste at Suffolk County Council said land raise is already used as an alternative to landfill in Essex and Cambridgeshire and could be the best solution for Suffolk.

He said: “Obviously landfill and land raise are not ideal solutions, the best thing is not to produce waste in the first place. It is a sensible alternative to looking for new landfill sites.”