Hundreds oppose plans by Eco Sustainable Solutions for an energy recovery facility on Parley greenbelt
MORE than 700 objections have been made against plans for a waste-burning energy plant on greenbelt land near Christchurch amid concerns about pollution and traffic.
The application by Parley-based Eco Sustainable Solutions is to expand existing waste management facilities at its site in Chapel Lane, and will be debated next Tuesday by BCP Council's planning committee with a recommendation by officers to approve it.
The move has been vociferously opposed, sparking more than 700 letters and a petition, plus protests from local parish and town councils.
The energy recovery facility (ERF), which would include a 38-metre high emissions stack, and take an additional 60,000 tonnes of waste each year, generating heat and electricity.
Ahead of the meeting, Justin Dampney, Eco's chief operating officer, said the new plant will save 17,000 HGV miles exporting waste further afield and would provide "low carbon" electricity and heat for local use.
He also said the proposed education centre would "support the council's efforts to reduce waste, and reuse and recycle even more".
A report to BCP Council's planning committee said it was estimated the plant would give rise to an extra 107 lorry movements per day.
Officers argue that although the plant "constitutes harmful development in the greenbelt", this was outweighed by the environmental benefits and an absence of suitable alternative sites.
This was rejected by residents, who claimed the facility's effect on air quality would harm the health of the local population.
However, the council's report stressed any hazardous ash will be removed from the site in enclosed tankers.
Hurn Parish Council, West Parley Parish Council, and Ferndown Town Council all lodged strong objections.
They were equally critical of the "insufficient" height of the chimney, which is restricted due to its proximity to Bournemouth Airport.
"This has a direct correlation to the fall of the pollution particles from the chimney," said West Parley councillors.
"Given the population of the local area, this can have a negative impact on the health of those residing in the ‘drop zone’."
Residents called for more sustainable solutions to waste management, labelling the application a "green-wash" and citing an "over-capacity of incineration plants in the UK".
But council officers said the ERF is needed to deal with increasing volumes of waste. Currently, residual waste from the area is either treated at a plant at Canford Magna near Wimborne or exported to other counties. The remainder is dumped in landfill.
"If no new facilities are brought forward, facilities outside the area would need to be relied upon, and there is no guarantee that they have the capacity to deal with the projected increases of residual waste," said the committee report.
"The proposed facility is considered to have a net positive climate impact, with the reduction of 376 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions being released resulting from the production of electricity from non-fossils fuels and a reduction in waste sent to landfill."
Intensification of the site would create 10 new jobs.