Below is a copy of press release issued by Damian, with the support of councillors Mark Kemp-Gee, Andrew Joy and Adam Carew, outlining their continuing objection to the Veolia application:
During the second period of public consultation being carried out by Hampshire County Council, local County Councillors, Mark Kemp-Gee, Andrew Joy and Adam Carew, together with East Hampshire MP, Damian Hinds, have indicated that they will all once again be lodging objections to Veolia’s plans to convert its current recycling site on the A31 near Alton into an incinerator.
The second chance for local residents to make their views known has resulted from Veolia providing Hampshire County Council with additional information since last summer’s public consultation.
The Councillors and MP do not feel the new information addresses the significant concerns raised with them by residents about the proposed incinerator.
County Cllr Mark Kemp-Gee commented:
“Regrettably, the further information recently supplied by Veolia in no way diminishes the detrimental landscape effects of this very large incinerator and will be simply devastating on the Wey Valley and the setting of the South Downs National Park. Veolia have not undertaken a full and proper assessment of other reasonable alternative sites and provided no evidence that Hampshire needs a fourth incinerator, whilst Dorset, Surrey and Wiltshire have none. Burning waste gathered from across the South of England will be a major setback to Hampshire County Council’s climate emergency pledge to reduce the county’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.”
While County Cllr Andrew Joy said:
“Veolia’s response to Hampshire County Council’s call for further information is long on rhetoric but critically short of any substance to mitigate, much less overcome, the overwhelming and destructive environmental and landscape impacts of the proposed development. The step-change in environmentally damaging HGV movements, especially through and past Alton, much of it necessarily originating from beyond Hampshire’s borders, would have an unacceptable carbon emission impact as well as having an adverse impact on the amenity and quality of life of local residents with some 56,000 HGV movements a year accessing the proposed site.
“The tranquil and precious Wey Valley landscape is priceless and irreplaceable. This proposal is unnecessary, economically and environmentally unjustified and geographically inappropriately located. It promises to be a comprehensive disaster. At best it would be a ‘monstrous carbuncle’ in glorious countryside.”
County Cllr Adam Carew added:
“Our concerns to French waste giant’s Veolia’s gargantuan incinerator are emphatic and remain the same. This is still a monster industrial development totally unsuited to a beautiful rural Wey Valley landscape on the very edge of the South Downs National Park. There is nothing Green about these proposals. Its polluting smokestacks will be visible for miles around, not just from Alton but even from Whitehill and Bordon. This is for commercial not residential waste, the site is not identified for incineration in the County’s waste and minerals plan, it is not served by rail nor is it close to any motorway. The site will be open 24/7 with lorries trundling through local towns and villages. Farnham and Surrey have already objected, colleagues of all political parties need to wake up to the very real threat to our beautiful and historic countryside right here in East Hampshire!“
And MP Damian Hinds noted:
“As I've said before, if this kind of facility is required (and, to my mind, that is a very big ‘if’), there must be a better location for it. The beauty of the Wey Valley is precious and the impact of the proposed facility on our countryside, the historic town of Alton and its surrounding villages is, I believe, unacceptable.
“It is right for the County Council to have required more information from Veolia, and I encourage people to make use of this further opportunity to lodge objections.”
Members of the public have until 15 February 2021 to submit their comments to Hampshire County Council on the new information provided by Veolia. All interested residents are urged to make their views known to the Council, which can be done by going to the Planning section on the Council’s website (hants.gov.uk) and locating the application under reference number 33619/007.