VIDEO: Council planners confronted by protesters at controversial Javelin Park incinerator site in Haresfield
By Bodger21 | Friday, March 15, 2013, 07:27
More than 200 protesters converged on Javelin Park at Haresfield yesterday to challenge council officials over plans to build a giant waste incinerator there.
Protesters at Javelin Park - the proposed site at Haresfield for the controversial £500m waste incinerator.
Having launched a blimp, tethered at 70m to demonstrate the height of the stack of the proposed £500million energy-from-waste plant, the demonstrators held banners and placards, chanted and sang songs in protest against the incinerator, as they awaited the arrival of the county council planning committee.
The officials arrived by coach at around 12 noon to view the site where the giant incinerator would be built if granted planning permission.
Sue Oppenheimer, chairman of the campaign group GlosVAIN, which organised the demonstration, said: "I think today's demonstration is really important, because the council needs to see the strength of opinion against this proposed waste incinerator.
"There are a lot of people who feel incredibly strongly that this is the wrong technology on the wrong site."
Gerald Hartley of GlosVAIN said: "We were clear, right from the outset, that we wanted this to be an orderly, non-violent protest, to get the message across to these councillors that, actually, we are the reasonable people here.
"The unreasonable people here are the administration at Gloucestershire County Council, who flatly refuse to look at another technology that would have been acceptable to people here."
Haresfield residents Juliette Ttofa and Michelle Hopkins were among the demonstrators.
"We have children at Haresfield Primary School," said Michelle.
"The school will be directly under the plume of smoke emitted from the plant's giant chimney, which is worrying.
"Another cause for concern is the number of lorries that will be travelling to and from the plant on a daily basis."
Steve Lydon, chairman of Stroud Constituency Labour Party, said: "The balloon actually represents the height of the chimneys for the incinerator.
"A friend of my son built a model of the proposed incinerator, and when you look at the model you can actually see that the thing is three times bigger than Gloucester Cathedral - so it will be a huge blot on the landscape.
"My view is, if there is a penalty clause for cancelling, that we go out to a referendum on that and say to the people of Gloucestershire, 'This is a mistake from the past. We believe we have more sustainable ways of disposing of rubbish. I propose a vote to get rid of this blasted thing'. So the argument isn't over."
Following the councillors' site visit, a spokesperson for Urbaser Balfour Beatty - the company granted the 25-year contract by the county council to build and run the plant - said: "The purpose of the visit was to assist the planning committee in their evaluation of the application.
"UBB have been here today to respond to any questions raised by the planning committee members in relation to the layout of the proposed development."
Sue Oppenheimer was allowed on site to meet the planners during their visit. "The members of the planning committee were shown around the site and given an idea of the size of the building - which is going to be enormous," she said.
"The actual building itself covers two football pitches and gets to a height of 70m - that's 230ft. It's a really big building.
"We don't want to see this going ahead. We think there are far better alternatives that would be cheaper, safer, less visually intrustive and the council should be looking at those.
"It's our money that's going to pay for this monster and we'll be stuck with it for 25 years or more."
* To view film footage of yesterday's demonstration, click on the link here.
* A decision over the incinerator will be made by Gloucestershire county councillors next Thursday (March 21) at a public meeting at 10am at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester.