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Cornish Guardian

19th. October 2011




25th.May 2011

The fight is not over, This is the cry of campaigners across St.Dennis following news that a controversial waste incinerator for Cornwall had been approved. Six years after the £117 million mass burner at St.Dennis was first proposed and despite the plans being thrown out at every level of local goverment, on Friday the Secretary of State gave the green light to a scheme which has been opposed every step of the way. Devastated protestors have accused Council leader Alec Robertson of "betraying" people in Clay Country after he urged the government to back plans for an incinerator despite the council having pledged to "robustly defend" the decision of the former county council to refuse planning permission.
More to follow


Clay Country: County Council Accused of 'Sheer Vandalism'

11th. November 2008

MYSTERY surrounds the butchering of a huge area of land last week in the Clay Country.

The stretch of land, which is around a mile long and the width of a dual carriageway, was covered in bushes and trees but was cut down by workmen last week.

Local incinerator protesters claim that the area between Treviscoe and Indian Queens is where a 'haul road' for the proposed plant would run.

The private land is owned by Imerys, but a spokesman said the company had nothing to do with the work.

"The county council had to do a survey of that land before they would be given permission to use that strip as a haul road for the incinerator, because ecology surveys need to be carried out," he said.

He suggested that Cornwall County Council might have been carrying out pre-site investigation work.

Residents are distraught at the size of the piece of land which has been cleared, claiming it was an important environmental area for wildlife.

The land lies behind a tall row of fir trees on the road which leads from Treviscoe towards the A30.

They have described the area as a bomb site, with all the growth flattened to the ground and tree stumps and overgrowth scattered around.

St Dennis Parish Council chairman Fred Greenslade said the land had been decimated and wanted answers.

As the Guardian went to press no one was available from Cornwall County Council to comment on the work.

Patricia Blanchard from St Dennis, who opposes the plans to build an incinerator, said: "It is terrible to see such damage, how could they destroy so much.

"We've been told Cornwall County Council were only given permission to do some strimming, so they could put survey pegs in, but they've cut down tress and flattened everything in a 100ft swathe. It's an act of sheer vandalism."



7th.May 2008


Even more people are taking it upon themselves to campaign against the proposed incinerator - and the latest are MAD grannies who took to the streets of St Austell town centre on Thursday.

Mad grannies, standing for Making A Difference, formed due to a shared interest - of protecting their grandchildren, and others that live in St Dennis.Between them, they have eight grandchildren in the village, with a further five who visit regularly, and don't want them to live in the shadow of the SITA run, Energy From Waste, incinerator.

One of the four grannies, Pat Blanchard, said: "We don't want 240,000 tonnes of rubbish burned next to the gardens and parks where our grandchildren play. We don't want a 400ft chimney spewing out toxins over their homes and school.

"And we certainly don't want 170 lorry movements a day, further polluting the air they breathe. Our grandchildren are not expendable."

The grannies are supporting the call for a public inquiry into the planning application process because it is the only way left, they feel, to achieve proper scrutiny of a contract that sentences Cornwall to burn for 30 years, sacrifices St Dennis on the altar of waste, and was not subject to any meaningful consultation process.

And they feel that taking to the town centre was the only way they would be heard.

"We will not be allowed to speak at County Hall when the planning application is heard and we can only make written submissions," said Pat.

"When only four councillors actually read the waste contract, before they voted for it, how can we believe our submissions will be read? Or that it is the "best deal" for Cornwall? SITA invited Cornwall's county councillors to a private presentation at their exhibition in St Dennis earlier this year, allowing them unfettered access to put their case. But no such privilege will be awarded to us.

"Cornwall County Council will effectively be giving themselves planning permission as it was their idea in the first place for the incinerator and this must be challenged."

The grannies claim that as late as last month, at least one councillor was still not aware that commercial and industrial waste could be burned by the proposed incinerator, and now they wonder what else the councillors don't realise.

So, in order to try and make sure that the public inquiry goes ahead, the grannies spoke to people in St Austell on Thursday and asked if they would sign a petition and lend support to the campaign for an inquiry.

Coupled with a petition signing event held on Wednesday night in St Dennis, the group have collected hundreds of signatures all lending their support towards a public enquiry.



7th.May 2008


The debate surrounding the proposed incinerator and the cost of a public inquiry continues to heat up.

In response to two readers' letters in last week's St Austell Guardian, Cornwall county councillor Bryan Rawlins has detailed how the £163 million price tag of an inquiry has been calculated."Claims that funds are available for a public inquiry is not the case at all, and never have been.

"The £1 million that confuses this issue is a fund held by SITA as a reserve to cover their legal costs should a full public inquiry ensue.

"The £163 million that I have quoted as a cost to Cornwall's taxpayers is predicted on the enquiry directing that the present waste contract be overturned and alternative proposals be progressed."

Due to not being able to guess just how long an inquiry would take, trying to guess how much it will cost is also rather problematic.

The Belvedere inquiry on exactly the same subject matter opened in 1992 and came to a close in 2003.

With landfill tax costing £1m per month of taxpayers money which goes straight to the Government, Cllr Rawlins feels that this money would be better spent on affordable housing if it had to be spent on anything.

However, as the vetting of the incinerator application continues to take more time, more and more people are joining the campaign for a public inquiry. One of those people is Pat Blanchard who, between her and three friends, has formed MAD grannies.

MAD, standing for Making A Difference, will be taking to the town centre on Thursday, aiming to get more people to sign the petition for a public inquiry.

Pat said: "Councillors are very free with quoting figures when it suits them, but won't say, for instance, how much of our money they spend on buying Rostowrack Farm from Lord Falmouth.

"All financial details have been blacked out in the version of the waste contract the public is allowed to see.

"It's like wading through treacle trying to get to the truth of all this, yet it is £163m of our money, not theirs, they spend.

"How much will the haul road cost us, if it comes out of highways budget you and I will be subsidising SITA."

St Austell and Truro MP, Matthew Taylor, says he is still confused as to where the figures and information that Cllr Rawlins quotes, is coming from.

"Brian is still confusing two issues. The first is the time and cost of an inquiry into the proposed incinerator, if the application is called in by the Secretary of State," he said.

"Such an inquiry was always allowed for in the county council's planning, precisely because the proposal breaches planning guidance. And there is no reason such an inquiry would take years as Brian suggests it might.

"What it would do is give everyone the chance to have their say, and for the case for the incinerator to be independently judged."

The second issue Matthew still feels has been confused is what happens if the County's plan is thrown out or amended by the inquiry.

"If that is Brian's worry he clearly believes the county council's case may not be strong enough. If so, the county should never have committed to spending hundreds of millions on it in the first place," he said.

"Instead they can adopt quicker, better solutions, with smaller scale facilities dealing with the waste safely in closer proximity to its origins.

"And Brian has still failed to explain the extraordinarily detailed figure he gave as the cost of an inquiry. Nor has the county council chief executive explained it, even though I have asked her to. But then incinerators are all about rubbish."



10th.October 2007


Dr. van Steenis DVD Handover

Campaigners battling against plans for an energy-from-waste incinerator in Clay Country have urged councillors to listen to health concerns about the plans.Members of St Dennis Incinerator Group (STIG) went to County Hall, Truro, yesterday morning to hand councillors copies of a DVD which outlines health concerns about incinerators.

The group has been campaigning against plans to build a single, energy-from-waste plant in Cornwall to deal with all the county's waste.

The plans are a major part of a waste contract for the county which was awarded to Sita last year.

The DVD handed to councillors was of a film of a public meeting held earlier this year by STIG which featured a presentation by Dr Dick Van Steenis, an industrial emissions expert, who has carried out research into the impact of incinerators on the health of those who live nearby or in the path of emissions.

STIG campaigners Jackie Salmon and Jean Amos were at County Hall yesterday and said in a statement: "We are keen to get his message to as many people as we can. Time is running out and we hope that this DVD will help councillors see that it is a worry, not only for the people of St Dennis and the surrounding areas, but for the whole of Cornwall.

"Sita Cornwall UK and the county council have tried to discredit Dr Van Steenis saying that he is scaremongering. If this is the case why won't they let him come and talk to the councillors? They are, after all, grown-ups who are capable of making up their own minds.

"All the figures Dr Van Steenis uses are based on information gathered from the primary care trusts in the areas where there are already incinerators. In every case the figures show higher rates of infant mortality, cancers and many more illnesses downwind of the incinerators. In some cases these infant deaths are in the leafy suburbs and affluent areas.

"All STIG asks is that councillors take the time out to look at this DVD and make up their own minds - not toe the party line and do as they are told. After all, we the people voted them in to represent us not what they think is best for the party."

Tonight STIG is hosting a public screening of the DVD at St Dennis Primary School. The event starts at 7pm and is open to all.

The film can also be viewed on the group's website at www.st-ig.co.uk



23rd.may 2007

Interest Goes County Wide

More than 120 people were at Cornwall College on Friday night for a public meeting organised to hear scientist Dr Dick Van Steenis talk about his research on the effects of incinerators. The meeting had been organised by campaigners in St Dennis who are fighting the plans for an energy from waste plant which is earmarked for a site near the village.But this meeting saw people from all over Cornwall going to hear about the possible effects of an incinerator in the county. This is something that the St Dennis Incinerator Group (STIG) has been looking for for some time - support from around the county and not just in and around Clay Country.

The incinerator is something that will affect the entire county and it should be something that is an issue for everyone and not just those who may be living in the shadow of it.

It is encouraging, therefore, that more people are taking notice of what is going on in the county and trying to find out more about it. Perhaps Sita might want to also make everyone more aware of its plans and speak to the entire county, and not just those who pester it for information.



23rd.May 2007

Expert Warns of Incinerator Dangers at Packed Meeting

A government adviser has warned of the danger to public health posed by waste incinerators.A public meeting held at Cornwall College in St Austell on Friday was organised by the St Dennis Incinerator Group (STIG) and attracted around 120 people from all over Cornwall and as far afield as Penzance.

STIG is campaigning against plans by French waste management company Sita to build a waste incinerator plant in St Dennis.

Dr Dick Van Steenis, who is an adviser to a House of Commons select committee on air pollution, told the meeting pollutants from the incinerator would affect people living in Newquay and Bodmin, as well as St Austell, depending on wind direction.

Dr Van Steenis said: "The danger comes from the particles released into the atmosphere. They are of a size where they can be easily inhaled into the lungs where they lodge and cause damage to the body."

Dr Van Steenis said the greatest danger comes from small particles known as PM2.5, which are particularly dangerous to youngsters.

"New-born babies are more likely to succumb to damage from chemical pollutants in these inhaled particles," he said. "Around every single incinerator infant mortality rates, asthma rates and autism are sky-high."

In addition Dr Van Steenis said the effect of pollution would be all the greater in the St Dennis area, where there were already a power station, waste tip and china clay industry.

Cornwall County Council last year awarded the £500 million contract for dealing with the county's waste to Sita. As part of the contract, the company was asked to find alternative ways to deal with waste to stop using landfill sites which are reaching capacity.

Sita has said a main part of its plans will be to build and operate an energy from waste plant in Cornwall, with St Dennis as the preferred site.

Sita has so far refused STIG's request for a public meeting to allow residents to air their views about the proposals.

STIG has enlisted the support of St Austell MP Matthew Taylor. Mr Taylor, who lives in St Dennis, attended Friday's meeting and said a public inquiry was necessary.

"People ought to have the opportunity to ask questions," he said.

But Sita has hit back at claims that incinerators are dangerous, and said modern energy from waste incinerators posed a negligible threat to health.

In addition Sita say emission limits for such plants are stricter than for any other plant type, including conventional power stations, and insisted they were the next best thing to recycling.

Sita said its findings were backed up by a government review into the health effects of incineration published in 2004, as well as a paper from the Health Protection Agency.

A spokesman said: "Although Sita is involved in the full range of waste treatment systems internationally, their considered opinion is that an incinerator to supply energy from waste is the best solution for Cornwall."

STIG spokeswoman Jackie Salmon said the group would continue to collect evidence to support its objections.

She said: "Sita has not yet submitted a planning application, but when it does we hope residents from across the county will support us and oppose it.

"Friday's meeting was very encouraging and showed we are not the only people who fear the consequences of what is proposed."



Wednesday 29th. November 2006

A letter from Michael Ryan, Shrewsbury

Residents of Cornwall who think incineration is safe should look at the different average infant mortality rates in electoral wards that are upwind and downwind of Sita's Kirklees incinerator which exploded in September.

The "upwind" wards of Holme Valley North, Holme Valley South, Crosland Moor and Netherton, Golcar, Greenhead and Denby Dale had a total of 3,715 live births recorded in the three year 2003-5 and 13 infant deaths during the same period, giving an infant mortality rate of 3.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The "downwind" wards of Dewsbury (East, West and South), Batley (East and West), Birstall and Birkenshaw, and Mirfield had a total 5.560 live births and 55 infant deaths during the same three year period, giving an infant mortality rate of 9.9 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Sita also operates Edmonton Incinerator (North London) which adversely affects at least three London Boroughs. Chingford Green ward (Waltham Forest) had an infant mortality rate of 17.1 per 1,000 and was the highest in that borough during 2003-5. Ponders End ward (Enfield) is adjacent to Chingford Green and had the highest infant mortality rate in that borough at 12.5 per 1,000. Northumberland Park ward (Haringey) is the closest ward in that borough to Edmonton incinerator and also had the highest infant mortality rate in that borough at 15.6 per 1,000.

More information on incinerators can be found at www.ukhr.org.

I've examined infant mortality rates around 15 incinerators, two power stations, two oil refineries, one cement works and a foundry and found the same pattern in every case, i.e. higher infant mortality rates in the downwind wards compared to upwind.

S.T.I.G. Footnote :-

Michael Ryan, Chartered Civil Engineer became interested in health issues after realising that the deaths of two of his children could have been caused by emissions from nearby Shrewsbury Hospital incinerator.