Case against plant goes in front of NHS chiefs
5th November 2010 - the following article is reproduced by kind permission of Lynn News
HEALTH fears surrounding plans for a waste incinerator in Lynn were raised when campaigners lobbied NHS chiefs in their fight against the scheme.
Anti-incinerator campaigner and Middleton farmer Mike Knights spoke of his concerns for public health when he presented a hard-hitting report he compiled on the Saddlebow Road project to NHS Norfolk.
He asked health bosses to give “serious consideration” to the matter before they are officially consulted on the plans next year.
The report claimed the county council had not addressed health concerns as it was acting on “flawed” evidence and information.
It said a government report on the environmental and health effects of waste management had been produced on its behalf by a company called SKM Enviros, which boasts on its website that it has an “enviable track record” of winning planning permission for incinerators.
“This report has been used as the foundation of official thinking on incinerators and its informations was shared between DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Health Protection Agency and Environment Agency,” said Mr Knights.
“Enviros cannot be considered impartial or independent of its incinerator industry clients, when they produced the estimates of pollution used in the report.”
Mr Knights’ report also said the county council’s monitoring of air pollution would be “completely ineffective”.
The authority is currently monitoring air quality at the proposed site on the Willows Business Park, but he said it should be carried out “downwind” of the area as that is where pollution would be detected.
“Emissions do not fall to earth like a stone thus it is evident, whichever way the wind is blowing, air quality at the base of the incinerator will always be free from emissions.
“If this location is used to monitor air quality before and after the incinerator is built any figures published will be meaningless, implying the incinerator is not contributing to air pollution.”
But a council spokesman said although monitoring further afield has not been ruled out, it would not give a clear picture of pollution levels.
He said: “The problem about monitoring further from the site is that it will be subject to so many other, potentially much greater, sources of pollutants such as particulates, dioxins, etc. These include road traffic, industrial processes, central heating systems, wood burning stoves, bonfires, cremations and intensive farming.
“We rely upon the advice of the health and environmental experts, who tell us that the effects on air quality of modern, properly run energy from waste plants are tiny, and the effects on health probably undetectable.”
NHS Norfolk chairman Sheila Childerhouse told Mr Knights the board would need to wait until a planning application for the incinerator is submitted before being able to debate the issue fully.
Dr Tim Crayford, the trust’s interim director of public health, assured residents that all sides of the story would be considered.
before it makes a decision on the health advice it will give.