Villagers' concern at waste plant plan

VILLAGERS have reacted with concern after learning a major waste treatment plant - possibly including an incinerator - could be built in their community.

Will Clarke

VILLAGERS have reacted with concern after learning a major waste treatment plant - possibly including an incinerator - could be built in their community.

The Shepherds Grove Industrial Estate at Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, is one of five potential sites being looked at by Suffolk County Council to cope with a predicted surge in commercial and domestic waste.

No decision has been made on the type of facility that will be built but an incinerator is thought to be favoured option of disposing of the waste.

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Labour and Liberal Democrat opposition members on the council have highlighted evidence connecting incinerators to increased risk of developing cancer - a connection denied by the Conservative administration.

Sue Buss, of the Shepherds Grove Retirement Park, which is close to the proposed site and features more than 200 homes, said residents would oppose the scheme. “We don't want this at all. This area is too built up for this - it is the last thing we need,” she said.

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“Most of our residents are in their 70s and some are in their 90s. We have got people with lung problems and this would be totally unsuitable for round here.”

Desmond Whymark, chairman of Stanton Parish Council, said the issue would be on the agenda at its meeting next Thursday. But he was hopeful it would not face opposition because of the extra jobs the plant would bring.

Nigel Wallace, landlord at the village's Cock Inn, said the waste disposal units had to go somewhere and argued that if it did no harm to the environment there was no reason it should not be sited in the village. He said: “We can all be 'nimbys' but if it doesn't harm the environment then I am not opposed.

“My mum and dad live on the retirement park and if it doesn't affect them it is fine. But until we get more information it is difficult to give an informed view.”

The other shortlisted sites are the former sugarbeet factory in Sproughton, near Ipswich; the Eye Industrial Estate, near Brome, and the former Masons Cement Works quarry and the Suffolk County Council Highways Depot, both in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich.

The project is being proposed as the only viable way to dispose of rubbish because the county is running out of waste landfill capacity. It is believed more than one site could be chosen because of the expected amount of waste that will have to be dealt with in the future.

The proposals also include four sites put forward by the waste industry to help manage non-hazardous landfill.

These include the former mineral working at Thorington, near Halesworth, and existing landfill sites at Masons quarry in Great Blakenham, Foxhall quarry in Ipswich and Layham quarry, near Hadleigh.

A consultation period starts next Monday and runs until January 30. Members of the public can comment on the plans by emailing or by writing to Graham Gunby, minerals and waste policy manager, Suffolk County Council, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, IP1 2BX.

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