A PLAN that could send 300,000 tonnes of rubbish a year from London boroughs including Hillingdon to Cheshire for burning has sparked outrage.
The West London Waste Authority (WLWA) has put out to tender a contract to treat waste, which cannot be recycled, from its member boroughs: Hillingdon, Ealing, Harrow, Brent, Hounslow and Richmond.
One of the bids is a joint venture between Tata Chemicals Europe and E.ON Energy, under which an incinerator about the size of Wembley Stadium would be built close to the town of Northwich.
The £500m contract would require the treatment of 300,000 tonnes of rubbish a year for the next 25 years.
Plans for the incinerator were approved last year, despite opposition group Cheshire Ant-Incinerator Network (CHAIN) submitting petitions of 25,000 signatures and 3,000 submissions against it.
CHAIN has now taken to writing to WLWA directly, asking the authority not to accept the tender from Tata/E.ON.
Liam Byrne, a member of CHAIN who lives near to where the incinerator could be built, has written to the WLWA.
In his letter he said: “[Northwich is] not a place where any sane or responsible organisation would want to build a very large power station, approximately the size of Wembley Stadium, just about one mile from its very centre, and not a suitable place where Londoners should send their garbage on a journey of 200 miles.
“It would be deeply outrageous and obscene if a group of local authorities, such as those you represent, from a relatively prosperous part of the country were to use the economic advantages they have to dump on a less well off neighbourhood a couple of hundred miles away.
“It cannot be fair or just that the health and quality of life of the people of Northwich could be treated in such a selfish and cavalier way for decades to come.”
The WLWA told the Gazette the tender process was still open and no decision had been made about any contracts. A decision has been pencilled in for April 26.
Councillor Andrew Retter (Con, Northwood Hills) who sits on the WLWA for Hillingdon, said although he was unable to discuss specifics because of the tender process, continued reliance on landfill was not an option.
“It is becoming so expensive to send [waste] to landfill,” he said, “and governments of all complexions have said we have to find an alternative.
“Many years ago, incineration was not an option. Today, because of the rules concerning the [chimney] stacks, it has become a much more viable option.”
A quantity of Hillingdon’s residual waste is already burned, at the Grundon incinerator in Colnbrook.
Any waste that were to go to Cheshire would be transported by train, leaving from the WLWA depot in Victoria Road, South Ruislip.
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