Yesterday Suffolk County Council Development Control Committee granted planning permission to SITA for an Incinerator (they call it an energy from waste plant). I still believe that there are better technologies such as Anaerobic Digestion for food waste that would yield better results, be less environmentally damaging and not require commitment to a 25 year PFI contract. However the conservative administration committed themselves to this technology in 2005 and no arguments have persuaded them to waver.
Unfortunately they would not even consider road improvements to the Lodge Lane/ Bramford Road junction to reduce traffic congestion. Neither would they consider payments to the local community via the parish councils to allow improvements to local facilities as a small benifit to offset the harm they will suffer.
My statement to the committee was Dev Control Proposed Energy from Waste plant at Gt Blakenham
At least we will have access to the SITA Trust who like BIFF Award and the Viridor Trust feed some landfill tax back to the community for local projects.
The Government via the Homes & Communities Agency has given the go ahead for loans of £5.4 million for 81 affordable and 40 private housing at the Mason’s Works (SnOasis) site in Gt Blakenham. The affordable homes will be 56 social rented and 25 shared ownership and will be built by March 2012.
The £5.4 million is made up of £3.9m for the 81 affordable homes and a £1.5m loan to help fund the private market housing. This development will provide a valuable boost to local employment in the building industry and help meet local housing needs.
National Grid have been under pressure in Somerset as well as Suffolk to consider seriously a wider range range of options for reinforcing the grid. They have just released the following news release that shows some movement. Keep your fingures crossed.
NATIONAL GRID TO PROVIDE MORE INFORMATION ON HINKLEY POINT CONNECTION PROJECT
National Grid has announced plans to hold a series of events to further explain the background to its proposals for a new overhead electricity line between Bridgwater and Avonmouth.
The first phase of consultation on two potential route corridors for a new overhead line to connect the proposed new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station ended on 22 January.
Since then the company has been analysing the extensive feedback received from local residents. The 14-week consultation period prompted more than 2000 feedback forms, 1100 emails and letters and 100 telephone calls to the project helpline. Around 4500 people attended the 17 public exhibitions held along the potential routes.
From the feedback received, it has become clear that many people would like more information on the background to the project and the other connection options which National Grid considered before publishing its proposals.
In particular it is apparent that people want more information about alternatives to overhead power lines, such as underground or subsea cables.
National Grid is now planning to publish more information to explain how it arrived at its proposals, and will also provide new opportunities for local people to discuss them with the project team.
We will send information to all 37,000 homes within the original consultation area, and hold further briefings to local councils and public information events. Full details of when these events will take place will be announced shortly.
National Grid’s major project manager David Mercer said: “We are grateful to everyone who responded to our consultation. The opinions of residents are very important to us and will play a vital role in any decisions we make.
“Since the initial consultation period ended we have been looking at all the feedback and reflecting on the issues it has raised, and it is very clear that people need more information about alternatives to overhead power lines and pylons.
“In response to these concerns, we have decided to provide both written information and further opportunities for local people to meet the project team, and would welcome further public comments.”
A new power line is needed to connect the proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C. Depending upon the final route, the new line would be approximately 37 miles long and is planned to be constructed in 2016.
I have visited one Incinerator at Heath Road Hospital and one MBT Plant at Donarbon in Cambridge http://www.donarbon.com/ How sad can you get?
Our visit to Donarbon in Cambridge was interesting. The plant is still in its test phase prior to handover but was clean tidy, except for the festoons of video tape and from the outside looked like any other modern industrial building.
Cambridge re-cycles high portion of waste through Peterborough and GT Blakenham. It treats garden waste by windrow composting and kitchen waste by in vessel composting. The output is sold to farmers and gardeners as the process is certified safe.
Their “black bin” residual waste is processed by an MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment) plant to avoid paying LATS (Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme) penalties by stabilising the waste, reducing biological activity by 70%, as measured by oxygen take up. Suffolk has never appeared clear that this is so but it is: I checked the regulations. MBT plant output can be stabilised waste or refuse derived fuel that can be sold. We were that there is a market and this fuel and it is classed biomass as recyclate has been removed before burning takes place.
The cost of the MBT plant is about £40 M under a PFI. Suffolk’s large mass burn Incinerator (sorry, Energy from Waste Plant) will cost a lot more in a 30 year £600 M PFI contract. Expensive flue gas clean up is required as black bin waste has a number of contaminants that must be extracted from the flue gas to tight EU regulations. (Three chears for the European Union). We were told that the best way to build a mass burn system is to go through MBT first taking the pollutants out before burning rather than spend a fortune extracting them afterwards.
Ironically the number of large incinerators built is causing a shortage of waste and Incinerator operators in Europe are importing waste at Euro 20 per tonne to keep the beast running.
Food for thought!
We are planning to trial vehicle activated electronic signs in the area and measure their effect. I am working on this in a group involving the Police and County Highways. We intend to settle the debate on the most effective way of reducing anti social speeding at an acceptable cost. This will lead to less argument and more action.
The plan is to run the trial in Bramford, Claydon, Gt Blakenham, Henley and Somersham using several approaches. We should have two semi permanent, solar cell powered, 30 mph signs that illuminate when vehicles pass at more than the speed limit and one that displays a vehicle’s speed. There will also be extra speed guns in each Safer Neighbourhood Team area.
One additional permanent sign in this area will be funded by my locality budget for road improvements
The “Waste Core Strategy” has been revised after consultation and on 10th December was approved by the County Council for submission to the Government. This strategy gives the policies by which planning applications for waste processing facilities will be judged and the possible sites for large “strategic” facilities.
Waste quantities are dropping and have saved the County about £1.8million this year and Eastern Region waste estimates are being revised downwards. This should cut the number of waste processing facilities Suffolk needs, particularly when the number of smaller sites that are likely to be built is taken into account.
The County now believes it needs four not five strategic sites and we are heading towards two being sufficient. The chance that Gipping Valley will be faced with two large waste treatment sites in Gt Blakenham and a third at Sproughton is reducing.
I will continue to emphasise this reduced need as we move through the final stages of the plan process. My belief remains that Suffolk’s waste would be better handled nearer to source by smaller more environmentally friendly anerobic digestion plants. However the administration is firmly fixed on an Incinerator (Energr from Waste Plant). Smaller plants that would lend themselves to combined heating and power (CHP) would be less difficult to finance quicker to build and less dominating in our environment.
A typical Municipal Incinerator
Suffolk is now at the “Final Consultation” stage of its “Waste Core Strategy”. You can make your views known at the County www site. The strategy identifies sites for waste processing facilities and additional landfill capacity. Our main problems are that it seeks to allocate two sites in Gt Blakenham, one for the proposed County Council Incinerator at the Highways Depot and the other for commercial use at Mason’s Quarry. Two sites in the area appear too much even if you accept incineration as an appropriate technology. I do not.
A public fact finding session has been arrange for our area by Suffolk County Council at Gt. Blakenham Village Hall in the form of a drop in session on Tuesday 8th September between the hours of 15.00 hrs and 20.00 hours. Please attend, hear what is intended and make your views heard.
Suffolk Liberal democrats are opposed to Incineration as a means of waste treatment at Gt Blakenham or anywhere else. We have set up a petition at http://suffolkcclibdems.org.uk where you can record your view and ensure we have evidence of local opinion to use in our campaign to get the County Conservatives to change their mind.
Another family has suffered a tragic loss at the B1113 Bramford Road junction in Gt Blakenham. It is difficult to imagine how people must feel and how they can cope after such an event.
The local view was that the road changes introduced in 2001 only solved half the problem at the junction. It was just a matter of time before a severe collision between a right turning vehicle and one from the Bramford direction occurred. However County Highways would not carry out further work – they waited for the changes SnOasis would bring. It is now obvious that we have waited far too long and need action now!
Highways are working with the Police and have reconstructed the tragic events looking for the reason why this junction is worse than other right turns. They have removed some signs that may have contributed and come up with some relatively minor improvement proposals.
I believe that minor changes will not address the core issue and will leave us waiting for yet another tragedy. I have asked them to look at full solutions : a roundabout, traffic signals in a simplified version of the SnOasis plan , or a scheme designed by Liz and Neil Gardiner who have suffered personal family tragedy here and report back to me and to Gt Blakenham within one month.
A typical Municipal Incinerator
Suffolk County Council has been consulting about five sites it is proposing for waste disposal. Two of these are located in Great Blakenham. I am concerned that the roads are not adequate to carry extra traffic from SnOasis and the planned new housing developments in the area, let alone two new waste sites. I have asked the District Council to look at this and can’t see why they don’t have a realistic plan for the area. The other sites are at Sproughton, Stanton and Eye where protest groups are forming.
The County has declared that its preference is to site an incinerator at Great Blakenham to burn domestic waste. I think that the long term effect on people’s health from chimney stack emissions cause grave concern. I favour Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT), which is becoming the technology of choice in the UK. This involves several flexible and adaptable operations. After mechanical sorting, anaerobic digestion is used to process the biodegradable waste producing gas which generates electricity efficiently. Metals recovered in the sorting process can be re-cycled.
Please let me have your views.
The County position can still be changed. Planning consent for a mass burn incinerator in Surrey is to be quashed following a hearing in the High Court in January 2009.