Secretary of state urged to call-in Veolia plant

A campaign group, backed by Conservative East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds, has written to the secretary of state urging him to call in Veolia’s proposed energy recovery plant near Alton.

A visual of the proposed facility from Veolia

The No Wey Incinerator Action group has also called on Hampshire county council to delay its decision on the planning application, which is currently under review.

The group said a delay would give the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, Robert Jenrick, the opportunity to respond to the request.

Veolia has countered the concerns, stating that the plant would tackle Hampshire’s “urgent unmet need” for waste treatment capacity.

The proposed energy from waste (EfW) plant in the Wey Valley would have the capacity to treat 330,000 tonnes of waste a year.

Land

If approved, the EfW would be built on a site close to the A31 trunk road and currently occupied by Veolia’s materials recycling facility and waste transfer station.

In May 2021, the Environment Agency consulted on a substantial variation of an environmental permit submitted by Veolia for the site.

As Veolia will be replacing the two facilities with the energy recovery plant, the application for an environmental permit was submitted as a ‘substantial variation application’.

In the application, Veolia said it would undertake continuous monitoring of emissions to air of the flue gases from the facility.

Veolia said all continuous emissions measurements will be recorded, and operators will be alerted if emissions to air approach the permitted limits. The results of emissions monitoring will be reported to the EA.

The application added that best available techniques (BAT) will be employed at the facility to minimize impact upon the local environment.

Veolia said in the application: “A quantitative BAT Assessment has been completed for the facility. This has demonstrated that the proposed techniques to be employed at the facility will represent BAT”.

Planning

The planning application was first submitted to Hampshire county council in February 2020 but a decision has not yet been determined.

In July, Hampshire council asked the waste management giant to clarify several technical details involved in the application.

The most recent call for clarification, issued at the end of July, asked Veolia to state its position in relation to the arguments raised by the campaign group and give more detail around the facility’s heat generation.

The No Wey Campaign group has asked the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick to halt plans

It also requested more information about the possibility of retrospectively adding carbon capture and storage technology.

MP

Since the application was submitted last year, local MP Damian Hinds has voiced his opposition to the plan, saying that it’s been proposed in the ‘wrong location’.

Mr Hinds said on his website last month: “If this kind of facility is required (and, to my mind, that is a very big ‘if’), there must be a better location for it.  The beauty of the Wey Valley is precious and the impact of the proposed facility on our countryside, the historic town of Alton and its surrounding villages is, I believe, unacceptable.”

Veolia

A Veolia spokesperson said: “Our proposed energy recovery facility near Alton tackles Hampshire’s urgent unmet need for waste treatment capacity as set out in its local Development Plan.

“The facility will result in a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to landfill.  It will be designed to be carbon-capture ready, power a local heat network, increase Grid resilience and supports the green recovery.

“The development is on a site allocated for waste treatment, directly accessible from a dual carriageway and we would expect it to be determined locally based on the Committee report that independently assesses the proposals.

Robert Jenrick has served as secretary of state for housing, communities and local government since 2019

No Wey

The No Wey campaign group claims the plant has received more than 5,000 objections from local residents and businesses.

The group argues that the majority of Hampshire’s waste is produced by its major cities Portsmouth and Southampton, each of which already have an EfW plant.

For this reason, the group argues that Veolia’s plant is not needed to meet the county’s waste requirements.

A statement from the group said: “Given the serious consequences approval would have for both local residents and our environment for generations, this application should not be rushed through simply to appease a multinational company that stands to make millions of pounds in profits from an enormous incinerator, that is not needed to meet Hampshire’s waste requirements.”

 

 

 

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