Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Latest from the Incinerator Inquiry

Today was the penultimate day of the Public Inquiry into the proposal for an incinerator at St Dennis. I had the privilege of presenting the closing statement on behalf of the “Rule 6 Party” representing local people including St Dennis Parish Council and the St Dennis Against Incineration Group.

Our statement was quite long at 13,000 words and it followed statements by the Power of Cornwall, the Transition Cornwall Network and the Cornwall Sustainable Waste Network.

Just to give a feel of the arguments we made, I have listed below a few extracts from the statement.

1. “We may primarily represent the people of this area, but we do not consider this to be simply a local issue. SITA’s application for an incinerator has been vigorously opposed by people from all over Cornwall and further afield. Over one thousand individuals and groups objected to the proposal during the period of the planning application. It was opposed by county councillors, district and parish councillors, MPs, parliamentary candidates from across the political spectrum, local residents, business people, and campaign groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.”

2. “This Rule 6 Party still holds the view that waste management, focussed around a single centralised incinerator with an annual capacity of 240,000 tonnes, does not represent a sustainable solution for Cornwall’s domestic waste in the 21st century.”

3. “SITA has presented documentation, dating from 2006 onwards, claiming that the Appeal Site is the most appropriate location for the incinerator, but the reality is that the site was selected before this documentation was even produced. Frankly, the consultants employed by SITA have not sought to investigate the best alternatives or the best possible sites for such a development, but to conjure evidence in support of a pre-conceived position and a pre-agreed location.”

4. “SITA themselves acknowledge that the materials contained within black bag waste, which would be incinerated if this proposal went ahead, include a large amount of material that could and should be re-used or recycled or composted – such as plastic, paper and cardboard, textiles, food waste, wood, glass, inert substances and metals.”

5. “The proposed chimney [at 120m / 394ft] would be approximately twice the height of the existing stacks at Parkandillick and it would tower over what is essentially open countryside. The height of the stack is much, much greater than the spire of Truro Cathedral (245ft), a structure which dominates the setting of the city of Truro; it is also greater than the Statue of Liberty and its associated pedestal (305ft), and Big Ben (316ft).”

6. “The adverse visual impact of the plume that would emanate from the chimney would also be significant. According to the fourth volume of SITA’s environmental permit application, the average plume length would be 45 metres though there would be occasions when it would extend to a length of 221 metres – almost twice that of the chimney. The document postulates that plumes will be visible at a height of between 100m and 199m for about 145 hours each year.”

7. “It is our view that the incinerator would dominate the communities of St Dennis, Treviscoe and the surrounding landscape – but not in an abstract sense. It would tower over peoples’ homes and the gardens in which they relax with their loved ones. It would tower over a range of facilities, such as the football pitch and the playground, used by young and old alike. And it would mean that a visitor’s lasting impression of St Dennis would not be the historic church built on the site of an ancient hillfort, or the farms of Carsella and Domellick which were both mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Nor would it be the community spirit so evident throughout the area or even the skytips fondly known as “Pointy” and “Flatty” which are a reminder of the local mining heritage. Instead, their lasting impression would be of a massive and overbearing incinerator casting its dark shadow over this part of Mid Cornwall.”

8. “We are extremely angry that the proponents of the incinerator proposal were so keen to locate the incinerator within the China Clay Area, an area they, from an external perspective, perceived to be less worthy of protection from inappropriate development than elsewhere.”

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