Why we must stop the incinerator

Sir,

I WISH to express my concerns regarding the proposed locating of a waste disposal plant in the Dearne Valley.

The building of a plant of this type at the bottom of a valley surrounded by housing and commerce shows a lack of foresight and responsibility.

I have personal experience of living in close proximity to a similar facility, and the same arguments being used now were used when that plant was proposed.

As an asthma sufferer, my condition was exacerbated by the commissioning of that plant.

Complaints about that facility were dismissed with the usual platitudes about the technology and procedures being up to the current legislative levels.

We have a long documented history of “safe” levels of exposure to pollution having to be revised down to much lower levels many years down the line, after the damage has been done.

As an engineer with over 40 years’ experience I am not so naive as to believe reassurances from parties with vested interests, regarding the safety of the processes involved.

I have no objection to the concept of raw materials being made into products and the energy contained within utilised at the end of their life. This is more environmentally friendly than burning mineral and vegetable matter directly.

It makes no sense to approve a facility where the chemical content of the fuel is unpredictable.

There can be no justification for reintroducing smokestack industries into an area that has had hundreds of millions spent on it, to clean up the mess from previous such establishments.

However well monitored, the emissions from the plant can only be detrimental to the local atmosphere and general environment. I, among many others, am still suffering from the pollution from the previous industry in this locality.

In an area where chronic and acute respiratory disease is a major problem, I cannot believe either consultation with the health authorities has been thorough.

Within easy access, are numerous power stations well away from populated areas, with chimneys designed to clean and disperse emissions high into the atmosphere.

They also have the facilities for the disposal of the residue.

The power stations are well equipped for bulk material handling – by road, rail and canal. The Dearne Valley site has none of these advantages.

A better option would be for Doncaster and Rotherham to provide collection sites situated with access to the canal system. Barnsley could use the rail network. The locally collected material could then be delivered to these local collection points.

A plant built at a power station – processing recyclable material, to be shipped out by rail for domestic manufacturing or sent out by canal directly to the docks for export and the residue burned on site – would not incur any additional truck mileage than at present; it may even reduce it.

The whole of South and West Yorkshire could be accommodated by this, and the economic and environmental benefits of such a scheme would be of benefit to all.

However, the transportation of vast quantities of collected material into – and sorted material out of – an area on the extreme edge of each of the three towns would be economic lunacy and an environmental disaster.

The additional hundreds of thousands of truck miles, in an area where the roads are unsuitable for such levels of heavy traffic will increase noise and pollution.

The resultant congestion on route to and from the site, caused by the slow-moving vehicles will increase journey times between the towns.

The roads in the Dearne Valley are notorious for their appallingly poor condition and cannot cope with the existing levels of traffic.

Some communities have successfully petitioned against similar facilities in their area.

But choosing to place such a facility away from the centres of three towns makes it extremely difficult to co-ordinate a high level of opposition, as the majority of the electorate served by the authorities are not affected. Opposition is fragmented as there is no single forum for debate.

The readership of local media is further divided between newspapers serving Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham.

In March 2010, the following message was sent to the BDR Waste Partnership Team:

“I understand that the consultation period with regards to the proposed Manvers waste processing plant has expired, WHY?

“I live about a mile from the proposed site and I have not been consulted, WHO HAS?

“Please supply proof that a genuine consultation has taken place, ie:

* How many were polled

* How many responded

* What percentage were in favour, and

* Were non-replies counted as being in favour?

An acknowledgment was received but to date they have not responded with an answer.

Before another penny is spent, every house, business, school, college and medical facility in the Dearne Valley should be consulted directly and allowed to express their views.

If the plant were of any economic advantage to the people of the area. I am sure other regions within the three districts would be clamouring for it to be placed in their area.

The decision to choose the location in question appears to be a deliberate attempt to circumvent the democratic process. For this reason alone, the project should not proceed.

Placing this facility on either of the proposed sites would be the wrong technology, in the wrong place for the wrong reasons

R Stables,

(Via email)