Bridgwater Town Council members have expressed their opposition to the operation of an incinerator based at Huntworth, near Bridgwater, because of the damage it will do to the environment. The plan is for the so called ‘Bridgwater Resource Recovery Facility’ at Huntworth, to take all of Somerset’s household rubbish that cannot be recycled and convert it into energy for powering 44,000 West Country homes, through the National Grid. The applicant says that the facility will remove tens of thousands of tonnes of rubbish from land-fill sites. The incinerator is already built, after permission was given in 2015. Since then the applicant has submitted a revised application for operating the facility – changing from gasification to conventional mass burn moving grate technology, and increasing the volume of production – so that further consultation is taking place.
Of major concern to Bridgwater Town Council is the pollution from greenhouse gas emissions from the incinerator. These include carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, ammonia, hydrogen chloride and total organic carbon. Says Councillor Kathy Pearce, Climate Change portfolio holder: “The Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy pledges to de-carbonise energy production and make Somerset a carbon-neutral county by 2030. This application is in direct conflict with that aim and makes a mockery of our attempts to fight air pollution.”
Protect the Health of Local Population
The application states that “the incoming waste would likely comprise non-hazardous processed and non-processed commercial and industrial waste ……” “Likely”? We need a stronger assurance than that to protect the health of local populations and particularly school children!
The site is at risk of flooding, and is close to both the River Parrett and the Bridgwater and Taunton canal. We are concerned that flooding of the site could potentially pollute these water courses, and present a health threat to both wildlife and humans, since water from the canal is extracted and processed for drinking water.
Other concerns are an increase in noise levels – the facility will operate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, except during planned shutdowns for maintenance – and an increase in traffic congestion and harmful emissions during planned delivery hours of 0700-1700, from Monday to Saturday.
Time is Running Out
Councillor Kathy Pearce says: “Time is running out. We need to start implementing the Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy, and that means refusing permission for facilities like this which increase air pollution and undermine efforts to reduce waste or recycle more.”