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Home SCIENCE Essex waste incinerator 'better for climate than landfill'

Essex waste incinerator ‘better for climate than landfill’

A new £600m incinerator will be better for the environment than sending waste to landfill, the company building has claimed, as construction continues.

The Rivenhall plant, near Braintree, Essex, will generate electricity by burning non-recyclable waste from 2025.

Activists are concerned about air pollution and reduced recycling rates.

“Residual waste is being landfilled, which is the worst thing to do from a climate change perspective,” said John Ahern of waste company Indaver.

“Incineration is an improvement.”

‘Solving a problem’

He said about half the cost of the waste-to-energy project, at a former air base, went to gas-cleaning technology and environmental control.

“We can’t just burn things, we’re not allowed to pollute,” Essex told the BBC.

“[Society] produces too much waste [worldwide]and the UK is not self-sufficient in generating its own electricity: we are dependent on fossil fuels.

“In the long term, we must analyze the waste that we generate, we must improve.

“We’re solving a problem that’s there now.”

Planning permission for the building was granted by Essex County Council in 2010, with a permit to operate approved by the Environment Agency. in 2020.

The firm said that burn 595,000 tons of garbage from the entire region each year and generate enough electricity for 60,000 homes.

Construction began in March last year and initially involved moving three million tons of earth, Ahern said.

Ten large trucks carrying drilling and piling equipment from Nottingham passed through towns near the site this week.

Mr. Ahern said that they had not encountered any problems and that three more “processions” would be held before the end of the year.

‘Very controversial’

James Abbot, a green district councilman representing neighborhoods near the site, described what Ahern had said as “greenwashing.”

He added that the site would produce 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, making it the largest single producer of CO2 in Essex.

“It will have a massive negative impact on climate change,” he said.

“It will reduce air quality.

“The rules are that it’s not supposed to produce pollution at a level that harms human health, but that’s very controversial and those limits keep changing.”

The Parishes Against Incineration campaign group said it would continue to protest as construction continued.

Nick Unsworth, of the group and also an independent councilor for the Braintree district, said: “We have a longer-term plan, which we are exploring, to start our own air quality monitoring.”

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