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Incineration going ‘unchecked’ as report highlights Portsmouth pollution

Published in the Portsmouth News on the 17th July 2018
Story by David George

 

PORTSMOUTH’S incinerator is facing claims it is exceeding pollution targets and not being monitored by those in charge, according to a report.

A cross-party report into the pollution caused by incinerators across the country claims Portsmouth is one of those that has exceeded the Environment Agency’s guidances.

The report claims that the owners of the incinerator, which burned 202,192 tonnes of waste last year, are misleading the public by not reporting how much waste is being produced. But Veolia, which runs the incinerator, says it is safe.

It has been calculated in the report that around 4.4 tonnes of PM10 and PM2.5 was produced in 2017, as well as 222.4 tonnes of Nitrous Oxide.

The incinerator in Quartremaine Road, Hilsea is owned by Hampshire County Council and contracted out to Veolia.

Organiser of the Portsmouth Green Party, Ian McCulloch, says it’s crucial that information on incinerator pollution is made available to the public.

He said: ‘The lack of transparency is of great concern to all of us.

‘Because the incinerator is contracted out, the information is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.

‘Across the country the figures have increased while recycling rates have stalled – at this rate we’ll be incinerating more than we recycle by the end of this financial year.

‘These incinerators have to be fuelled constantly to break down the toxins. It’s better than dumping plastic into the ocean but just redistributes the problem elsewhere.’

But leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, has called for caution when looking into the report, as the calculations use a formula rather than solid data.

He said: ‘The government has a set model for air pollution when the reality is often very different.

‘For example, Mile End Road is much less polluted than the government model would suggest, whereas London Road is more polluted.’

Sarah McCarthy-Fry campaigned against Portsmouth incinerators in the 1990s. She said: ‘When this incinerator was built it was top of the line – it’s hard to say if the tech is outdated or if the regulations are tighter.

‘I would love to know if they measured it themselves.’

A Veolia spokesperson said: ‘According to Public Health England, modern and well run energy recovery facilities like Portsmouth’s are safe. Sites are regulated according to permits that are monitored by the Environment Agency.

‘These facilities divert waste from landfill to create clean low carbon power and heat for homes.’

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