Below is a copy of a press release issued by Damian to raise air quality concerns in his latest objection to A31 incinerator:
"East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds has raised further concerns regarding Veolia’s plans to convert its current recycling site on the A31 near Alton into an incinerator.
Explaining, Damian said:
“I have grave concerns about the public health implications of the proposal due to the potential adverse effects on air quality, particularly given the legally binding duty on government to bring forward at least two new air quality targets in secondary legislation by 31 October 2022.”
Set out in The Environment Act 2021, passed by Parliament earlier this month, the government sought advice from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) in setting the air quality targets.
“Given these findings and the advice from COMEAP, there must be a likelihood that the WHO Air Quality Guideline for PM2.5, halved this year, will be reduced again, perhaps successively, during the expected lifetime of the Energy for Waste (EfW) facility that Veolia now wishes to add to the three EfW facilities already operating in Hampshire.
“I very strongly urge Hampshire County Council to reject this proposed project.”
The advice from COMEAP included that:
- a focus on reducing long-term average concentrations of PM2.5 is appropriate
- newer evidence indicates that PM2.5 pollution can have harmful effects on people’s health at lower concentrations than had been studied previously
- the studies have not indicated a threshold of effect below which there is no harm
- reducing concentrations below the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guideline would benefit public health [the WHO guideline was 10 µg/m3 when the COMEAP advice was published in July 2021 but has since been halved to 5 µg/m3]
- reducing exposure of the whole population would achieve the greatest overall public health benefit
- the health benefits of reducing other pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, should not be overlooked