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Green groups condemn incinerator plans

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Environmental groups claim Chieveley waste incinerator would be inefficient and a "monstrosity"

ENVIRONMENTAL groups have been quick to condemn plans by waste firm Grundon to build a giant incinerator capable of burning industrial and commercial waste, including asbestos, lead and other hazardous substances, at a site in Chieveley.

Grundon recently submitted a scoping opinion request to West Berkshire Council, outlining to build a huge incineration plant, with 85-metre high stacks capable of powering 50,000 homes, at Old Kiln Quarry, east of Chieveley Services.

A spokeswoman for Friends of the Earth, Becky Slater, said yesterday (Thursday) that it would be terrible news for the people of Chieveley and the environment.

“Incineration is not green,” she said. “It might produce energy, but it generates it very inefficiently, releasing a large amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) to produce a small amount of energy.

“This huge waste plant will destroy valuable recyclable materials for decades to come, completely undermining efforts to cut waste and boost recycling.

“This incinerator is simply not needed - we can deal with our waste much more sustainably through maximising re-use and recycling, and by treating food waste with anaerobic digestion, which generates 100 per cent renewable energy.

Ken Ripper, secretary for the Burning Issue Group, who opposed a similar development at Colnbrook, near Slough, called the proposal a “monstrosity”.

He said: “For the whole of their lives they will consume resources, prevent proper recycling, cause additional waste as society attempts to replace the products which are incinerated whilst their long-term environmental neutral position has yet to be proven.”

Mr Ripper said that even if the health and environmental reservations were satisfied, it did not make economic sense to commit to such a long-term solution.

The purpose of Grundon's scoping request was to ascertain what strict guidelines West Berkshire Council require the firm to adhere to in order to build the facility, which would be capable of converting 350,000 tonnes of waste each year into energy.

A spokeswoman for Grundon, Naomi Cresswaller, said the company was preparing a response to many of the points raised.

Similar Grundon waste sites, such as the Colnbrook incinerator in Slough, 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.

Send us your views by contacting Mark Taylor by telephone on (01635)56532 or emailing mark.taylor@newburynews.co.uk

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