Incinerator bid slammed

Suffolk County Council is proposing spending more than £500m on an incinerator to tackle the region's growing mountain of refuse, it was revealed last night.

Suffolk County Council is proposing spending more than £500m on an incinerator to tackle the region's growing mountain of refuse, it was revealed last night.

The council intends to embark on a 25-year project, to build and operate an incinerator, providing a business case is approved by the authority next year.

But despite assurances that the incinerator would not be built in a residential area and would not belch smoke into the atmosphere, the move has been slammed by the council's labour group who claim it would increase council tax and damage house prices.

The council is currently facing new Government penalties aimed at tackling the volume of household and industrial rubbish being dumped at landfill sites, and is being urged to follow the European model of converting waste into fuel.

The news comes as Norfolk County Council is close to making a decision on a controversial scheme for an incinerator at Costessey, near Norwich.

The council is currently considering two options, a proposal by Waste Recycling Group for an incinerator at Longwater Lane and a proposal by Sustainable Resource Management for a Mechanical Biological Treatment(MBT) plant.

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But while Norfolk is still considering both options, Suffolk is unlikely to approve the green alternative of building a MBT plant because it does not want to risk council tax payers' cash on experimental technology.

Given the business case is agreed by the council next year, the authority will embark on a project expected to cost £500m over the next 25-years, employing a private operator to build and operate an incinerator which turns waste material into energy.

If built the incinerator will be able to power up to 28,000 homes, as well as reducing the amount of waste going into landfill and the amount of methane being generated from tips, which is 25 times more dangerous for global warming than carbon dioxide pollutants.

Eddy Alcock, portfolio holder for environment, waste management and economic development, said: “Suffolk is committed to increasing recycling and composting to the maximum - but even then there will be rubbish left over.

“Landfill is no longer the answer - it is bad for the environment and will cost a fortune.

“If we decide to go down the energy from incineration route, the incinerator will not be built in a

residential area. It will be of industrial scale and must blend in architecturally with its surroundings.”

The council will now hold discussions with the county's seven districts and the public on the future of waste disposal, with a final report appearing in 12 months.

Sandy Martin, Labour spokesman for environment, waste and economic development, said: “Incinerators will cost Suffolk more in council tax, affect local house prices and pollute Suffolk's environment. We need new household waste centres, more bottle banks, weekly collection of communal bins from flats, and various other measures.

“All of these will cost far less than an incinerator but the Conservatives refuse to consider them.”

To find out more about the project visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/thefutureofwaste.