Gardens & wildlife

Veolia 2007 Newhaven Incinerator

In spite of the efforts of objectors through lobbying and petitions to Downing Street (Newhaven Incinerator petition), Ruth Kelly has now made it clear that Veolia's Newhaven Incinerator proposal will not be "called in" by the Government. This clears the way for the construction of the WTS and MRF at Hollingdean Depot.

Newhaven Incinerator

See The Argus - Incinerator Campaigners dealt blow by the Government.

Click HERE for a Video Webcast of the meeting.

In spite of over 16,000 objections and only 5 letters of support, members of East Sussex County Council's Planning Committee approved Veolia's proposal for an Incinerator at Newhaven Quay to burn 50% of East Sussex and Brighton & Hove's domestic waste by 5 votes to 1. Only the Liberal Democrat Councillor Olive Woodall voted against the proposal on the basis of the visual effects of a plant of this scale on the adjoining Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Other Councillors were more complementary about the design of Veolia's installation than the beauty of its immediate surroundings.

A long-term contract has been signed by East Sussex County Council and Brighton and Hove City Council with Veolia, licensing them to manage domestic waste.

Concern at transport implications
Several Councillors (including some who voted for the proposal) shared the objectors concerns about the use of road transport to carry bulk waste from Hollingdean to Newhaven. They urged that consideration of rail-link option (or carriage by sea from Shoreham Harbour to Newhaven Quay) should remain open for the future, though they conceded that this was not something over which they could have influence having made their current decision.

Points of objection put to Ruth Kelly
Opposition to Veolia's new waste plant has come from Town and District Councils, pressure groups such as Friends Of The Earth and Defenders of the Ouse Valley and Estuary as well as thousands of individual residents.

In an unsuccessful bid to have the Newhaven Proposal "called in", objectors made the following points:

Newhaven Incinerator Proposal: Application ref LW462/CM/(EIA)

Points of objection

01 The application is contrary to the site uses proposed in the Lewes District Development Plan, and is also in contravention of the waste local plan and the structure plan. The decision should therefore, be made under ‘call-in’ powers as a departure.
The proposal cannot demonstrate it is the best technical solution to reduce the emission of climate change gases.

02 The proposal is not energy efficient, it not does not use combined heat and power (CHP) and does not make proper use of the waste heat and should therefore not be permitted.

03 The proportion of municipal waste to be burned (54%) is too large and will prevent higher recycling and composting levels in Brighton , Hove & East Sussex in the future.

04 Communities should take more responsibility for their own waste, and not send it to a highly centralised disposal facility.

05 The application is part of a package which does not meet regional waste management targets for recycling and composting so other authorities in the South East will have to do more recycling/composting to compensate.

06 The need for this facility has not been adequately demonstrated against methods for dealing with our waste which involve doing more recycling and composting.

07 Separate collections of kitchen waste for composting should be established before a facility taking mixed waste is allowed to proceed.

08 The proposal only looks to provide electricity to grid at low efficiency.

09 Veolia plan to burn up to 10% commercial waste, despite no targets for this material being included in the waste local plan.
The incinerator is too large for the needs of the area.

10 The incinerator would lead to an unacceptable adverse impact on the adjoining Sussex Downs AONB and South Downs National Park which cannot be mitigated.

11 Visual intrusion is not given sufficient consideration. The proposal does not respect the local landscape and would result in a significant negative impact on views from and to the nearby AONB and proposed National Park and recreational routes.
The proposal will not improve the well being of Newhaven, or facilities in the town.

12 It will limit the opportunity for regeneration initiatives in Newhaven.

13 Flood risk to surrounding users of land is worsened as a result of the proposal.

14 Waste tonne mileage will increase as a result of the scale and location of this facility. Waste should be managed close to its place of production aiming to minimise the distance travelled.

15 Evaluation of transport impacts considers only local roads. The impact of the proposal on the strategic road network across Brighton , Hove & East Sussex including the proposed National Park should be reviewed.

16 Local traffic impacts are beyond the 5% threshold limit for traffic increases as a result of a permitted development.

17 No reliable data on very small particulate emissions (2.5 microns or under) has been given, therefore the potential health impact cannot be determined.
Air quality assessment does not provide detail of non-standard operating conditions, or non-standard meteorological conditions such as temperature inversion.

18 Stack height is below [approx 82m] the level needed to maximise dispersion of NOX emissions.

Scope for policy changes in the future
On 3rd May 2007, many objectors to Veolia's proposals will have the chance to decide the new composition of Brighton and Hove City Council through voting in the local Council elections.

There is also a consultation process involved in the production of a new Local Development Waste Framework to take the place of the current Waste Plan. There is hope too that stricter guidelines from Government &/or the European Community will affect the economic environment which makes incineration a viable/legal option for both Veolia and Local Councils, though ultimately local residents will have to pay for cancellation of agreements and investment in processes which prove unsustainable.

The majority of Coucillors on planning committees are currently telling us that "there is no alternative to incineration and landfill", though alternatives may have to be found within a tighter legal framework. The method of incineration to deal with the production of massive amounts of domestic waste is undermined daily by all the mentions of "global warming" or "climate change" in the international media and as warnings from the scientific community continue. There are signs that Government may be forced to take more of a lead in measures to reduce the production of domestic waste and to increase recycling targets.

Air quality management needs to be at the heart of local plans to regenerate London Road and Lewes Road. We shall shortly experience the impact of both a higher density of development and running Veolia's 44-tonne trucks at ten-minute intervals through areas such as the Vogue Gyratory (where many local residents do their food shopping in Brighton) and parts of residential Newhaven.

The documentation for the meeting on 21st February 2007, giving the go-ahead for the incinerator, including the Council Officers' recommendations, can be found at The Planning Committee Papers page of the Council's web site. There is also an online video webcast available for six months after the date of the meeting. Click HERE for details.

Although the go-ahead has been granted, there is still a chance of "a call-in".

'10 Downing Street' PETITION against the Newhaven incinerator
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop the proposed incinerator at North Quay, Newhaven, East Sussex.

The incinerator proposed by East Sussex County Council will dominate the town of Newhaven with two chimneys towering over 230 feet high, the main building of the incinerator will be over 100 feet high and more than 500 feet long. The site is on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and in a valley which is between the two halves of Newhaven. There is overwhelming opposition to the incinerator in the town and in neighbouring towns, the Town & District Councils are also against it but the County Council is ignoring local opinion. So far more than 11,000 objections have been made. "Regeneration not incineration"


1. FOR Councillor Godfrey Daniel Labour Hastings - Braybrooke & Castle
Address: 101 Lower Park Road, Hastings, TN34 2LE
Email: cllr.godfrey.daniel@eastsussex.gov.uk
Telephone: 01424 781082

2. AGAINST Councillor Olive Woodall Liberal Democrat Eastbourne - Hampden Park
Address: 66 Attfield Walk, Eastbourne, BN22 9LF who should vote against.
Email: cllr.olive.woodall@eastsussex.gov.uk
Telephone: 01323 505740

3. FOR Councillor Carl Maynard Conservative Brede Valley & Marsham
Address: The Burrow, 23 Baldslow Down, Westfield, TN37 7NJ
Email: cllr.carl.maynard@eastsussex.gov.uk
Telephone: 01273 481576

4. FOR Councillor Richard Stogdon Conservative Crowborough
Address: Laurel Tree Farm, Boars Head, TN6 3HD
Email: cllr.richard.stogdon@eastsussex.gov.uk
Telephone: 01273 481576

5. FOR Councillor Barry Taylor Conservative Eastbourne - Meads
Address: Flat 3, 28 Grassington Road, Eastbourne, BN20 7BJ
Email: cllr.barry.taylor@eastsussex.gov.uk
Telephone: 01273 481576

6. FOR Councillor Michael Tunwell Conservative Eastbourne – Ratton
Address: 1 Dene Drive, Eastbourne, BN22 0ET
Email: cllr.michael.tunwell@eastsussex.gov.uk
Telephone: 01323 509080

Report on Incinerator debate
held at Sussex University on 20th Feb 2006: 'Defenders of the Ouse Valley and Estuary' versus 'Onyx'
air pollutionThe Chairman of DOVE, Professor Chris Chatwin, from the University's School of Science and Technology, captioned his presentation: 70 % of our rubbish will go into the air we breathe. He went on to warn of the adverse effects the proposed incinerator would have on the environment and public health over an area much wider than Newhaven and the Ouse Valley & Estuary.

Over 50,000,000 litres of drinking water would be needed every year to cool the incinerator's toxic ashes and the polluted water would have to be transported to a sewer for treatment in another part of the UK.

The DOVE campaign regards Onyx's proposal as a 'skyfill' rather than the best alternative to landfill. The risks of incineration involve serious toxic pollutants: dioxins; furans; acid gases; particulates; heavy metals. ww.ukhr.org presents some actual case studies where airborne pollutants correlate with birth defects in parts of the UK where incineration is used on a large scale. Onyx is currently seeking a 'PPC (Pollution Prevention and Control) permit' from the Environment Agency. The DOVE Campaign web site can be used by objectors to generate a letter of comment to prevent the permit from being granted. The deadline for comments is 3rd March 2006.

John Collis, Project Director for Onyx's integrated waste management system and the applicant for both the Newhaven incinerator and Hollingdean Depot proposals, began his presentation by announcing a name change. 'Onyx' would now be known as 'Veolia Environmental Services' and he gave us his word that the company would never apply for a licence for low level radioactive waste to be incinerated at Newhaven. He maintained that the temperatures used in incineration would deal with most of the dioxins, but agreed that recycling (if possible) was much the better environmental option for waste management. The incinerator was needed because there would be no landfill options left within two or three years, though if recycling targets were lower than in other places, the complaint should be made to the County Councils responsible for the Waste Local Plan and not to Onyx.

Both speakers gave competent presentations, though there was not much interaction between them when questions were asked from the floor. John Collis was quized on the transparency of the contract he signed with the Councils. It wasn't mentioned that the legality of this 25-year contract is being challenged in the European Court since the signing preceded the adoption of The Waste Local Plan i.e. public consultation was not given a chance to enter into what had already been decided in secret between the Councils and Onyx.
Onyx could also be responsible for operating a Materials Recovery Facility at Hollingdean Depot. Although the latter could also be ruled out as an unsuitable location, residents who favour greater re-use of materials may want further transparency on who sets recycling levels - Is it the Council? Will the public be truly consulted in the creation of the Waste Development Framework, which in 3 years will take the place of the Waste Local Plan? Or are recycling levels a commercial decision wholly or partly taken by Onyx and already taken for the remainder of their 25-year contract?

See also

(a) Guardian report on UK incinerators, 22 February 2006

(b) Report by the British Society for Ecological Medicine on the health effects of waste incinerators.

Lewes District Council opposes incinerator application at Newhaven

[Update from Friends of The Earth]

In April 2006, Lewes Council met and agreed a position on the Newhaven incinerator. They came out clearly against it for a number of reasons

1. The use of incineration as a means of the major disposal of waste, with reliance on a single Energy Recovery Facility at Newhaven to serve East
Sussex and Brighton & Hove, is unacceptable in principle. Alternative, more flexible, waste management strategies involving a number of smaller
facilities, located to serve the area's main sources of waste and to provide shorter travel distances for waste treatment, together with scope for higher levels of waste recycling and recovery, should be pursued.

2. The proposed ERF could seriously prejudice the prospects for the ongoing regeneration of
Newhaven, to the detriment of the future prosperity of the town.

3. The sheer physical scale of the ERF building would dominate its
surroundings, to the detriment of Newhaven and the surrounding area,
including the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and proposed National Park.

4. The proposal would give rise to an unacceptably high number and length of lorry trips to and from the site by road.

Go to Lewes District Council Web Site for
Full Report: 64 pages (best suited to broadband users).

This page was last updated by Ted on 01-Dec-2013
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