Council to back £250m incinerator

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A £250 million plan to burn rubbish using the latest "green" technology has been given vital backing.

A 250 million plan to burn rubbish using the latest "green" technology has been given vital backing.When plans for a waste-burning incinerator came before Peterborough City Council at a four-hour extraordinary meeting last night it was expected to ignite controversy, but instead it was welcomed as a boost for Peterborough's aim to be the environment capital of Britain.

Councillors voted in favour of the state-of-the art energy park, which would be built on a site off Storeys Bar Road in Fengate, saying it would bring a number of positive benefits including new jobs and new technology and will produce clean, green energy.

If the plan is endorsed by the council's cabinet on February 2, it will almost certainly clear the way for the Government to give it the go-ahead. But, Peterborough could eventually have two incinerators just yards apart, as the council plans to build its own to cope with the city's rubbish.

Does Peterborough need two incinerators?

Vote result: Does Peterborough need two incinerators? 13/01/09

Yes 43%

No 56%

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The meeting allowed councillors to air their views about Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd (PREL)'s plans for its energy-recovery incinerator and was supported by 33 councillors, with just two voting against, and cabinet members abstaining until their own meeting.

However, planning officers, while broadly in favour of the plan, said more information was needed in vital areas, including road access issues, safety concerns regarding the proximity to gas pipelines, and justification on developing the site in the countryside close to Flag Fen.

Councillor David Harrington said: "We are almost 10 years into the 21st century and have missed out on a whole generation of technology, including nuclear power, already. We need to support this scheme."

Councillor Charles Swift said: "We should support this project unanimously and I hope the cabinet takes on board our comments."

Speaking in favour of the scheme, Richard Olive, who is a member of Friends of the Earth, added: "I believe we have now run out of time to eliminate climate change and we have to embrace this technology."

However, two members of the public stood up to express concerns about potential health problems from emissions.

Mr Donne Buck, of Gildenburgh Avenue, Eastfield, Peterborough, said: "A great number of vulnerable children would be subject to the discharge that would come from the chimneys and other airborne toxins."

Fiona Radic, who is a member of the Green Party, added: "We have a landfill problem; soon we will have a sky-filled problem."

Today, managing director of PREL Chris Williams said: "We felt that last night's meeting was a great success.

"We will work night and day in the coming weeks to ensure that the information and clarification asked for on matters such as transport and highways, gas and environmental detail are provided in full.

"Only in working together can Peterborough realise its goal to become the environmental capital of the UK."

Despite agreeing to the energy park proposals, councillors were still in favour of 38 million plans for a council incinerator, which would be built just 400 yards from the PREL site.