LONG WITTENHAM PUBLIC MEETING ON THE PROPOSED INCINERATOR

The Wittenhams joined the anti incinerator campaign last night after a public meeting in the village hall attended by over 70 villagers. They
were addressed by Dr Angela Jones and Mr David McKenzie from the Sutton Courtenay Against the Incinerator Group.

Mr David McKenzie stressed that due to the absence of the Human Health Risk Assessment appendices in the incinerator proposal from the Waste Recycling Group(WRG), the County Council were having to organize a fresh 3 week Public Consultation, which was imminent.

This meant that all local residents and organisations would have the chance to object to the proposed incinerator and gave the parish and town councils the opportunity to revise and strengthen their opposition. (This includes Didcot Town Council which “Welcomed ” the proposal)

He then summarized the issues that the campaign group were raising with the County Council. These included: conflicts with a number of OCC policies in the Oxfordshire Structural Plan; the lack of a Hydrological or Geological Survey, despite the risks of placing the proposed hazardous waste pit above an aquifer, with the potential of leakage into the Thames; the lack of an independent technical assessment, the failure to include consideration of the CO2 footprint and fact that the applicant, the Waste Recycling Group, had initially failed to include the Human Health Risk Assessment appendices in their application.

Additionally he raised considerable doubts over the economic advantages. He suggested that Councillors would be wise to have a detailed look at the economic risks they were proposing to take in a 25 year contract with an unpredictable future waste stream. He drew attention to the fact that the North London Waste Association, which faces a much larger waste problem had recently decided on a “Non incineration” approach and was utilising a mix of technologies. Moreover their detailed financial analysis had shown that incineration was £30 a tonne more expensive that their alternatives plan. Additionally the Council could face a considerable contractural penalty if they could not provide the required waste flow.

Dr Anglea Jones then summarized the findings of the Medical Objection that a group of local health professionals had submitted to the Council. This highlighted the growing evidence of the impact of incinerators on public health. Whilst acknowledging the incinerator had improved in the their view there were so many uncertainties that incineration was unacceptable. In particular she highlighted the risk of the very small particulates, which were not currently even monitored in the UK, getting into the bloodstream.

A considerable number of questions were then raised with both speakers by a wide range of concerned people. The clear impression gained was that once members of the public became aware of what is being proposed in their name, just a little further research gave rise to a growing sense of concern and deep resentment at the lack of a proper public consultation by Oxfordshire County Council on the proposal.

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