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Public protest forces waste strategy caution

PUBLIC PRESSURE has forced Essex County Council to put on hold proposals for a multi-million pound waste incineration strategy.

Last week, the council decided to put on hold a county-wide plan for generating power by burning domestic waste.

Instead, eight district councils, including Chelmsford, Rochford and Braintree, are pushing for recycling of 50% municipal waste and implementation of refuse composting for organic waste.

All twelve district councils are are showing support for the initiative.

The sudden change of heart, which would call for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment, has been brought about after more than a year of widespread public protest.

Opposition had been centred around fears that health can be affected by gas and particle pollution emitted from 'waste to power' plants.

People were also concerned about regulation of the contents burned at large incineration plants following the discovery of radioactive material at two incinerators in France and PVC at a UK plant.

'This is about Essex man and woman standing up, and about politics at its best,' said Professor Robin Murray of London Waste Action.

'Negotiation has been cross-party and inter-departmental.'

Meanwhile, London Waste Action, Friends of the Earth and the London Planning Advisory Committee have been campaigning against London Waste's application to expand its Edmonton plant.

The company wants to increase its incineration capability from 0.5M.t to 0.8M.t.

A spokeswoman said the £40M bid is in response to demand from the seven London boroughs currently supplying municipal waste.

Incineration currently accounts for disposal of only 4-5% of the capital's detritus.

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