Incinerator proposals taken to the people

JUST days after signing a contract to build and manage Suffolk’s first large-scale waste incinerator, environmental company SITA is taking its plans around the county to try to build support for the scheme.

The company was appointed preferred bidders for the new incinerator to be built at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, earlier this year.

It was confirmed as the county council’s partner in the scheme at a full council meeting last month.

This week representatives from SITA formally signed an agreement with the council to develop the plant which will generate electricity as part of the process.

A decision on the planning application is expected by the end of next year and if permission is granted work will start early in 2012 and will be finished by December 2014. An Environment Agency permit would also be needed before the building can be used.

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Suffolk residents can find out more about the project through a series of exhibitions being staged across the county this month.

Representatives from both SITA UK and Suffolk County Council will be at the events to answer questions. The exhibitions are:

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Friday 8 October – 10am until 4pm – Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre, Tavern Street, Ipswich

Tuesday 12 October – 2pm until 8pm – St Peter’s Church, Market Hill, Sudbury

Thursday 14 October – 1.30pm until 4.30pm – Felixstowe Library, Crescent Road, Felixstowe

Tuesday 26 October – noon until 6pm – Lowestoft Library, Clapham Road South, Lowestoft.

Lisa Chambers, county council with responsibility for waste, said: “We are committed to recycling and composting as much waste as possible and are delighted that recycling rates in the county are improving, thanks to the efforts of Suffolk residents.

“However, some waste simply can’t be recycled and we needed to find the best possible solution for dealing with this waste.

“The signing of this contract takes us one step closer to that solution and represents tremendous value for money for Suffolk, which in the current economic climate is very good news.

“SITA UK will pay for the �180 million building and we’ll get a Government grant to help cover the running costs over the next 25 years.”

David Palmer-Jones, Chief Executive Officer or SITA UK said: “We are delighted to sign this important contract with Suffolk County Council just over four months since we were selected as the preferred bidder.

“Since then, we have been out and about, consulting with residents over our plans to develop an Energy from Waste facility at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, and we are on course to submit a planning application in December 2010.”

Opposition environment spokesman John Field, whose division includes Great Blakenham, was resigned to the fact that the incinerator would be built.

He said: “This is now going to happen and incineration is cleaner than it was in the past. But we do have concerns about the PFI contract that will tie in the county to a deal over nearly 30 years when the amount of waste is actually starting to fall.”

Incinerator facts:

It will create enough power to supply 30,000 homes.

There will be 43 full-time jobs at the plant.

The incinerator will save the council �350million in landfill tax and government grants over 25 years.

The plant will deal with 269,000 tonnes of waste a year.

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