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Paper ponders legal bid to block hazardous waste plant

A campaigning local paper is considering taking High Court action to block plans for a recycling plant dealing with hazardous waste.

The weekly Nuneaton Tribune obtained a secret report which revealed that asbestos, cyanide and mercury would be dealt with at the proposed facility in the town.

But the report was not made public until after the Warwickshire County Council planners had met and made a decision to approve the plant.

The tribune’s hastily-launched campaign against the plans has already won the backing of 750 readers as well as two local MPs, Mike O’Brien and Bill Olner.

Tribune editor Simon Holden said: “It just beggars belief that the committee did not postpone its decision until it had all the facts in front of them.

“We also take issue with the limited amount of public consultation that took place before the meeting.

“Initially the council publicised it as a recycling plant. It was forced to change this to a contaminated waste recycling plant.

“The whole thing leaves a sour taste in the mouth and it is no wonder so many people are backing us. It is the largest single campaign the paper has ever run – and we have only been running it for five minutes.”

Added Simon: “Because the decision has already been made, the only course of action available to us is to force a judicial review at the high court which is something we are looking into.

“It is a sign that local newspapers are still alive and well and helping to serve their community.”

The waste that will be trucked-in to Nuneaton includes materials contaminated with dangerous substances from mining and processing minerals, agrochemical waste, chemical processing, construction, and the manufacture of paint, glue, plastic, leather, textiles and inks.

Nuneaton county councillors had asked for a deferral but this was overturned by councillors from the south of the county.

Comments

Declan Tyler (29/06/2008 19:48:18)
Secretly Approved Plant is Criminal Act
The County Council’s decision to privately approve a plant that will be more hazardous than a small-scale nuclear reprocessing plant on the fringes of Nuneaton town centre is scandalous. This plant is essentially an Eastern Europe design poisons incinerator!

This plant we’re told will be cleaning up contaminated soil by removing mercury, asbestos, cyanide and other noxious components but it will also be taking all sorts of other material too dangerous to be left just lying around. Peter Barnes said that there wouldn’t be much disruption from lorries. This isn’t the main concern! Did he consider the disruption from airborne pollution, the worry over storage of the extracted contaminants and the affect on the general mood of people that having a plant like in our midst will have on the town? A cleaning process either concentrates the waste (filtration) or dilutes it and moves it on somewhere else (washing or burning). It’s very unlikely that any cleaning process will prevent a percentage of these materials from escaping up the chimney to blow and settle in gardens and land all around Nuneaton. Not all chemicals respond to incineration, and many incinerators are themselves a source of dioxins – probably worse than some of the stuff going into the plant! What guarantees do we have about the safety of this type of plant? No one knows except that it’s probably a risk! Nuneaton is going to be a guinea pig for a new type of incinerator! Did Cllr. Peter Barnes even think about this when he made his casting vote – of course not! The material cleaned from this waste still has to be stored or moved and the stuff that remains behind which is unlikely to be totally hazard-free is presumably going to landfill in the old quarry. We’re told that houses are planned for the Tuttle area in 10 years’ time. Is this all really a sensible idea? If a plant has to be built why put it in the centre of a busy town? Far better to position the plant out of town and ship the post-process low-hazard waste into Tuttle Hill on a railway. This would mean no lorries full of the raw waste moving through our streets, no fuel tankers, no local incineration and no local storage of the concentrates.
This plant should never have been approved without a full-scale public consultation, as it will adversely affect each and every person living in Nuneaton and North Warwickshire. Its approval is down to ignorance or corruption on the part of the Council – it certainly isn’t down to common sense! It must be stopped!
Declan Tyler
NUNEATON

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