NEWHAVEN’S incinerator was the centre of a row again this week as MP Norman Baker announced he would boycott the official opening on July 4 and residents organised a protest instead.
“I have absolutely no wish to attend this poisonous event,” Mr Baker said.
“This gigantic intrusion into the landscape was forced on the town against the wishes of virtually all its residents by the Tory county council.
“It has damaged the landscape and sent out a message that Newhaven is simply a convenient dumping ground for the rest of the county.
“What is even more shocking has been the complete failure of the county council to negotiate any benefits for the people of Newhaven by way of planning gain.
“Any half-decent council would have secured millions in compensation, or the rerouting of heat generated to provide cheap district heating for the town.
“Instead, all we have are a few pathetic trees which would struggle to hide the sign to the incinerator, let alone the monstrous building itself.
“I would have hoped Veolia, having been completely let off the hook by the council, would have had the decency to put their hand in their pocket and come up with a decent sum.
“If the company wants to be part of the town as it says it does, it needs to realise it owes Newhaven big time.”
South Heighton residents Geoff Knight, Jane Miller and Paul Julian urged people to join the protest at North Quay Road at 1pm.
South Heighton parish councillor Mr Knight said the incinerator was built against the wishes of residents and was an ‘object of real anger’.
“We also remain unconvinced by assurances concerning our health fears and are further exasperated by the increased traffic for heavy goods vehicles along the A26,” he said.
Jane Miller said: “Every day lorries full of stinking rubbish rumble past our homes on occasions distributing it up and down local roads, ending up in our front gardens.”
However, Keith Glazier, county deputy leader, said: “Norman Baker has challenged this installation at every stage and been found wanting. He really does need now to move on and welcome this 21st century green way of dealing with waste.
“We don’t have the holes in the ground any more. We have to deal with waste another way and the only other way is exporting it which is far more environmentally damaging.
“We are now generating enough electricity for 25,000 houses on a daily basis.”
There was a capital programme in place for money to be spent on Newhaven and create more jobs and they had just bought a building to create a new library.
“We really do care about Newhaven and are putting our money where our mouth is.”
Robert Hunt, Veolia Environmental Services’ Executive Director, said the project was a £160m capital investment in the area and orders placed locally during construction totalled more than £10m.
“Five hundred temporary posts were created during the construction phase and 40 people are now employed permanently on the site, of which 70 per cent live locally.”
The facility would ‘deliver high quality recycling and recovery levels, maximise landfill diversion and save the taxpayer over £2.5m a year’.
“Daily vehicle movements have also been reduced by around 24 deliveries/collections following investment in a rail link to transport bottom ash,” he said.
Veolia was also involved in and supported community based projects.