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Chieveley incinerator: residents anger at plans for old quarry

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Residents of Chieveley and Curridge vow to fight plans for a massive energy-from-waste incinerator earmarked for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

CHIEVELEY and Curridge residents have said they will vigorously fight proposals by waste firm Grundon to build a massive incineration plant near their villages.

A parish council meeting on Tuesday (January 11) saw every public seat occupied in the local recreation hall as residents turned out to question plans to build an energy from waste facility at the Old Kiln Quarry site in Chieveley, a 22 hectare stretch of land which sits next to junction 13 of the M4, near to the A34.

Despite the parish council only recently being notified of the proposals in the form of a scoping opinion request made to West Berkshire Council, a brief note placed on the parish council website was enough to ensure a crowd packed into the hall.

Cyril Wood, the chairman of the Curridge Residents Association, said the looming flues would dominate the skyline.

“It is an Area of Outstanding National Beauty. The chimney stacks are over 250 feet high and the buildings themselves around 150 feet. It seems totally innapropriate for this area.”

Another resident, Werner Sanderson said despite the best intentions of Grundon to point toward positives, the negatives far outweighed its value. “This is changing an area of the land for a significant number of years. It is going to be there for at least 30 years,” he said.”

Katie Mills from Curridge Riding School, said a power station in Didcot which was being closed down was a much more suitable site for such a development, being brownfield and already having waste incineration facilities in place.

An unnamed member of the public added that the problem would not just affect the immediate area, but surrounding towns and villages too.

“If the wind blows the wrong way, this will cover Newbury, Shaw, Donnington, all those areas. They should be aware this will affect them too.”

Vice chairman of the parish council, David Cowan, said that he and the chairman, Rob Crispin, had written to West Berkshire Council in reference to the scoping opinion.

They highlighted concerns that the restoration of the site to agricultural land and woodland in the short term was not complete, and that this was in breach of the conditions of the existing planning permission under which Grundon operate.

West Berkshire Council officers have composed an initial response to Grundon which states there is no current need for a facility delivering such a level of waste removal for the district, and that exceptional circumstances were required to build on the land, which is within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A spokesman for North Wessex Downs AONB, Andrew Lord, said yesterday (Wednesday) that it had yet to be consulted, and was expecting rigorous examinations of the impact to be made.

“This is also one form of development which can potentially have far wider consequences in terms of traffic generation, the erosion of the rural road network, together with light, noise, water and air pollution among many other possible issues,” he said.

A similar facility to the Chieveley proposal, the Colnbrook incinerator, went ahead despite vehement protests from a residents and several anti-incineration organisations.

If members of the public wish to view the scoping opinion request they are invited to email chieveley.pc@btinternet.com

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