Fears of toxic pollution from waste incinerator

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Concern is growing that toxic particles could be emitted over the countryside if plans go ahead to build a new £150 milllion incinerator on land north of Horsham.

Waste recycling firm Britaniacrest has drawn up proposals for a new recycling, recovery and renewable energy plant at the former Wealden Brickworks site, off Langhurstwood Road, Horsham.

A group set up by local residents - dubbed No Incinerator 4 Horsham - is now mounting a public campaign in a bid to halt the development in its tracks.

Spokesman Norman Clarke said there was growing concern over pollution if the scheme went ahead. “We’re terrified that it will be spewing out toxic stuff,” he said. “Britaniacrest says it makes clean emissions, but these things fail with the best will in the world.”

But Brtaniacrest says the site has been handling waste materials from local businesses and the district council for processing since 2015.

And, the firm says, the site currently has planning approval to handle 230,000 tonnes a year of industrial and commercial waste.

The new proposals, they say, “will take commercial and industrial waste or similar, and sort and segregate materials such as metals, plastics and rubble and recover their value using the latest sorting technology.

“The residual material left over will be used to produce energy using well established and proven thermal treatment technology.

“Electricity will be exported to the local electrical grid - enough to power a small town.

“These processes will provide a sustainable alternative to landfill disposal, avoid the use of fossil fuels and save primary materials.”

But residents opposed to the proposals say that, as well as fears of pollution, the plant itself would be a blot on the countryside and would lead to increased traffic problems in the area.

Norman Clarke said that the proposed plant was a massive structure 52 metres high and 120 metres long with a 95-metre chimney. “It’s effectively an 18-storey-high building.”

Britaniacrest say it intends to submit a planning application to West Sussex County Council within the next few weeks. It says its plans will reduce the residual waste currently going to landfill.

Said a spokeswoman: “In consequence, it will not increase the tonnage, nor the vehicle numbers currently permitted at the site. The principle is to recycle what can be recycled, and convert the remainder residual waste to renewable energy.”

She said a permit will need to be obtained from the Environment Agency and that the agency’s role was “to ensure that any potential pollution is controlled to a safe level.”