The protest group Sutton Courtenay Against the Incinerator (SCAI) held a smoky protest outside offices of the Vale of White Horse District Council yesterday at Wantage, Oxfordshire. They used a smoke machine and wore gas masks to draw attention to their objections to a waste incineration unit, proposed to sit between Appleford, Sutton Courtney and Didcot.
As councillors arrived for a meeting at the Wantage Civic Hall the local families had gathered to lobby their representatives.
Pollution is the main concern, and the effect of health, which is seldom properly tested, according to British Society of Ecological Medicine:
‘At the heart of the problems of incineration is the unsatisfactory nature of monitoring at these installations,unsatisfactory in the way it is done, the compounds monitored, and the levels deemed acceptable, and the lack of monitoring of body burdens in the local population.’
I asked about particulates and dioxins, and SCAI Chairman Roger Rance told me, “They say they can filter to 2 microns, but the smaller particles will contain the pollutants including the dioxins and other carcinogens, mutagens and hormone disruptors.”
There are other arguments from SCAI too, not least the landscape and visual impact on the edge of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Beauty, and SCAI desribe WRG as ‘a company which already has a track record of a large number of infringements of safety standards at other incinerator sites it operates.’ One of the members also pointed out that it makes no sense to install the unit nextdoor to a major cultural investment, the Culham European School – a base for the international Baccalaureate.
WRG prefer to call the proposed unit a Resource Recovery Park – describing it as an Energy from Waste centre. SCAI refute the value of the energy process, and point out that the volume targets for burning waste clash with Oxfordshire’s objective of recycling more waste in future.
©2008 Jason Ball. Photo / info used by: