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Exclusive - waste incinerator plans revealed for Chieveley

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Waste firm aims to build plant capable of processing 350,000 tonnes of waste a year at greenfield site

WASTE firm Grundon intends to build a huge incineration plant, with 85-metre high stacks capable of powering 50,000 homes, at a greenfield site in Chieveley, Newburytoday can reveal.

Grundon has submitted a request for a scoping opinion to West Berkshire Council for a proposed energy from waste facility capable of processing 350,000 tonnes of waste each year at Old Kiln Quarry, east of Chieveley Services.

Similar Grundon waste sites, such as the Colnbrook incinerator in Slough, which was vehemently opposed by residents and anti-incineration groups, handle commercial waste, hospital waste, and radioactive materials.

The Chieveley facility would include two 85m flues, almost twice the height of the BT tower in Newbury, which stands at 44m.

Architects have also sketched designs for three oval buildings 47m in height and other waste reception and handling facilities.

Grundon has also said it would dig 10 metres into the ground at the site, which is owned by the Fairhurst estate, and is currently leased by Grundon's sand and gravel extraction arm.

The Fairhurst site is approximately 21.2 hectares in size and sits next the A34 and M4 junction 13, which the waste firm has eyed up as a useful transport link to and from the facility.

Generating approximately 33.5 megawatts of electricity from burning waste, Grundon said the power would go straight to the National Grid.

Grundon also said it intends to expand its current sand extraction operation as part of the new planning application, a move which has angered residents already concerned at the potential impact of the enormous proposal.

The site is within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is due to be restored to agricultural land and woodland under the terms of the existing planning permission for gravel extraction.

West Berkshire Council has given an initial response to the request, warning the firm that major developments should not take place in such designated areas other than in exceptional circumstances.

The purpose of the scoping opinion is for the district council to set out what it thinks should be included in the Environmental Statement that will be required to accompany the planning application under the EIA Regulations as the proposal is likely to have significant environmental effects.

It is the initial stage of a comprehensive process that will lead to the submission of a full planning application in 2011.

At a meeting of Chieveley Parish Council on Tuesday, angry residents called the plans “worrying”, “negative”, and “totally innapropriate”.

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