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.


Friday, 1 April 2011

I could kick myself. I really did say it, goodness knows how many years ago: nothing ever happens in South West Devon. Since then it has not stopped happening. Langage power station is now officially open and new houses at Staddiscombe fully occupied. The new town at Sherford has been designed and awaits better economic conditions before the bulldozers roll in. Many other new applications are starting to pour into local planners.
But three potential developments are especially noteworthy. First of all, the Tungsten Mine at Drakelands (Hemerdon) is now on the brink of getting the go ahead. It has had planning permission for 30 years so most of us living nearby cannot be too surprised. The recent increase in Tungsten prices have now made the exploitation of this mine a near certainty, starting in the next 12 months. It will bring a measure of dust, noises and disturbance to the edge of Plympton, but the promised 200 jobs sweeten the pill.
I had a briefing last week about another proposed activity: to develop an aerobic digester using redundant china clay facilities at Lee Moor. This clever beast is designed to gobble up 75,000 tonnes of commercial waste and turn it into 3 megawatts of electricity (enough to power 4500 homes). This is already an ugly corner of Dartmoor and the planning considerations will not be significant, provided the developer can persuade us that nearby residents will not be plagued with unpleasant odours and the traffic count is reasonable. We who bash on about renewable energy can hardly complain at such a proposal in principle.
The same cannot be said about the Viridor application for an incinerator and landfill at New England Quarry, Lee Mill.  The Devon Waste Partnership has already chosen their preferred option at Devonport Dockyard and the binding contract with MVV is now signed. Viridor say that they plan to incinerate commercial waste at NEQ. But recent studies show that there will not be enough local waste to meet all of its demand, especially if the Lee Moor digester goes ahead. If Viridor get planning permission for NEQ we could have 2 incinerators within 10 miles, one of them consuming waste from the rest of the UK. This is not acceptable and we must all renew our protests to Devon County Council.
Things are happening in South West Devon. The voice of local people about what we accept and what we reject must be heard.

posted by Gary @ 09:26