‘Incinerator threat’ returns to North Horsham

Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children  Start of Life
Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children  Start of Life

The ‘incinerator threat’ to Horsham is back years after a campaign to block a facility celebrated victory, residents have warned.

During a North Horsham Parish Council meeting earlier this month, it was revealed that waste management company Britaniacrest has been preparing a scoping report to seek views from West Sussex County Council regarding a potential ‘resource recovery and renewable energy facility’.

The firm already has permission to use the former Wealden Brickworks site off Langhurstwood Road as a waste transfer site to manage and process commercial, industrial and municipal waste.

Brian Johnson, a Langhurstwood Road resident, said there was a ‘pretty big trust issue’ since the company had not mentioned the project in any of their recent liaison committee meetings with residents. He said: “We are back again fighting the battles we fought in the 2000s of an incinerator threat.”

During NHPC’s meeting Mr Johnson said that although Biffa had ultimately not chosen not to go down that route and instead decided to build a mechanical biological treatment centre at the Brookhurst Wood site near Warnham, ‘Britaniacrest are wanting to go down that road’.

He added: “I think it’s best avoided here. Residents did not want it nine or ten years ago and I do not think they want it now.”

A spokesman for Britaniacrest said: “At this stage, the development is just under initial consideration and Britaniacrest Recycling is only evaluating its options.

“No decisions have been made and the thinking on the matter is still at a very preliminary stage.

“The scoping response from WSCC will help provide Britaniacrest Recycling with the information it needs to decide what steps to take.

“It will also be discussing the matter with local residents before moving forward.”

The spokesman explained that although there was a major European and UK objective to divert waste away from landfill, and while the Government had spent money on waste management facilities over the last ten to 15 years, these were mainly for household waste not commercial and industrial waste.

This meant there were few if any facilities to take substantial quantities of commercial and industrial waste.

As Britaniacrest is a significant company in the region collecting commercial and industrial waste, processing it, recycling it where possible, and disposing of the residual waste at landfills in the region, the spokesman said it ‘needs to plan ahead the treatment facilities it will use in the future’.

Sally Wilton, chair of NHPC’s Planning, Environment and Transport Committee, said when it came back to the committee they would take a position but at this point she felt they could not make a decision until they had all the evidence in front of them.

Parish councillor David Searle agreed, and said a tour of a similar facility would be helpful if a planning application was submitted.

He added: “I think at the end of the day we have got to weigh it all up when the facts are presented, but it’s disappointing we have this liaison group and they do not share that information with us.”

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