Waiting game over Eye incinerator proposals

A campaign against a waste incinerator in north Suffolk has been put on standby after a waste strategy was formally adopted by county councillors.

The approval of the 15 year policy by Suffolk County Council could pave the way for an incinerator on Eye Airfield, off the A140, near Diss.

Campaigners spoke of their disappointment after the waste core strategy was given the go-ahead by county councillors on Thursday. Members rejected an online petition signed by almost 300 people calling for the 'inappropriate and ill considered' airfield site to be withdrawn from the document on environmental, economic, heritage and sociological grounds.

A 81ha (200 acre) site, off the A140, has been earmarked for a 'strategic waste facility' as part of a plans up until 2026, although only five hectares (12 acres) would actually be used.

Campaigners fear that the former airfield at Eye could become home to a non-domestic waste incinerator capable of processing 100,000 tonnes a year.

David Burn, of the Eye Say No To Waste group, said he hoped that Suffolk County Council will modify its proposals in future years. He added that it was a waiting game over whether a developer submits plans for the industrial site.

'Until it becomes commercially viable, there is never going to be a proposal to build an incinerator on Eye Airfield. If it does happen, we will resurrect the Eye Say No To Waste campaign.'

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'When it is a strategic policy, it would be extremely difficult for any opposition group to oppose it as we have seen with the King's Lynn incinerator. There has been a huge response against it and the county council passed it through,' he said.

More than 200 people attended a protest against the proposals at Eye Airfield last month following opposition from residents and the Suffolk Preservation Society.

Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads, transport and planning at Suffolk County Council and local councillor, said there was no option to amend the waste strategy. He added that the former airfield had been identified because it was a long-standing industrial off an A-road. However, the A140 was 'inadequate' and a more central Suffolk site was more likely.

Proposals have already been submitted for an incinerator at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, which would burn more than 200,000 tonnes of household waste a year and power 30,000 homes.