Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 3 December 2009

Battle is joined! Viridor, the large waste company, are pushing ahead to apply for planning permission to build an Energy from Waste facility (otherwise known as an incinerator) at New England Quarry just to the south of Lee Mill. Local opinion is firmly against this project, and having seen the detailed plans in my office at Westminster last week, so am I.
There are 4 ways of dealing with waste: stick it in the ground (landfill), recycle it, decompose it (anaerobic digester) or burn it (incinerator.) Of course we all support recycling and must do more, but that will not come close to disposing of all of our waste. Our landfill options are limited now that Chelson Meadow is full, we could not possibly decompose all of our waste in south Devon and so 3 local councils acting in partnership have concluded that an incinerator is the least worst solution. It is hard to argue with that, so the issue is – where should it go?
Viridor will argue that as their site is an old quarry and is designated in the local plan for waste disposal, it is the obvious place.
There are at least three reasons why I disagree. First, to get all of the waste there would mean 100 extra lorries laden with waste storming through Lee Mill every day. Already 7000 vehicles pour through this village, and it is unacceptable to burden them further. Viridor have tried hard to find an alternative traffic solution but have failed. Second, I have now seen the impressions of what this facility would look like from several locations around the constituency. The visual impact would be horrendous. Third, although the experts tell us these things are safe, the proximity to the Yealm and attractive farmland makes it environmentally contentious.
There are two processes running at the same time. The planning decision which will be made by Devon County Council and the decision on whether the Viridor bid is chosen by the South West Waste Partnership. We must focus our energies on persuading these decision-makers to reject this proposal in 2010. I believe there are better sites available, notably the dockyard/naval base.
There is a public exhibition at the Smithaleigh Hotel on 10th December to view the plans. I have called a public meeting for 7pm on Monday 14th December at the Watermark Ivybridge to discuss these proposals and agree on an action plan. Please be there if you can.

posted by Gary @ 10:46