PROPOSED - image from Veolia planning application
The current Veolia recycling facility is at its highest only 15m tall.
Veolia's proposed incinerator building will be almost three times taller, and more than 150m long - bigger than Winchester Cathedral. The two chimney stacks will be at least 80m high, almost the height of Big Ben. The plume from the chimneys will stretch even higher.
Veolia's own Environmental Impact Assessment shows that the building and chimneys would be visible from several miles away, and would have a significant adverse visual impact on a majority of the viewpoints analysed, including 7 within the National Park.
Hampshire County Council's Landscape Department submitted a strong objection to the proposals in February 2021, however this highly critical report only came to light after a Freedom of Information Act request from the No Wey Incinerator Group, at which point HCC published it on their website, 9 months after it was written. Read the HCC Landscape objection [PDF]
National Park Impact
The choice of site is wrong for an industrial incinerator. It is in the heart of the rural Wey Valley and less than a mile from the National Park boundary. The incinerator would be clearly visible from within the South Downs National Park.
South Downs National Park Authority have objected to the proposals.
The incinerator would also be visible from a number of listed buildings and from conservation areas in Holybourne and Upper Froyle, including the Grade II* listed Bonhams Farmhouse.
Heritage England expressed serious concern at this impact, stating that there must be "clear and convicing justification for any harm to a desginated heritage asset".
No Local Need
Hampshire County Council's own 2020 update on its Minerals and Waste Plan shows that the county has an excess of waste recovery capacity, including incinerators, and has even exceeded its 2030 requirements. However, Hampshire has only delivered a third as much recycling capacity as required in the Minerals and Waste Plan.
Hampshire does not need a fourth incinerator which will burn waste that is imported from elsewhere, it needs additional recycling capacity.
Government policy states that waste developments should be situated near the sources of waste - the "proximity principle" - this location would mean tens of thousands more annual HGV movements bringing commercial waste from miles away.
Veolia's own planning application suggests waste would come from an average of 48km away - which means that half the waste will come from further away than even Newbury, Ascot or Leatherhead.
The incinerator would draw waste to be burnt from counties across the south of England, and possibly even from abroad.
Wasted Energy and Heat
The incinerator would inefficiently produce wasted heat, as Veolia admits it would not be commercially viable to build a local heat network.
Government policy strongly encourages combined heat and power from Energy from Waste plants, which is generally only possible for incinerators located in urban and industrial areas.
Incineration Reduces Recycling
There is no replacement recycling facility approved locally, and Hampshire has one of the worst recycling records in the country, already incinerating hundreds of thousands of tonnes of recyclable plastic every year.
Incinerating more waste goes against the Government's "Waste Hierarchy" and discourages recycling, which should be the priority.
The South East Waste Planning Advisory Group, of which HCC is a member, states that they believe there is already sufficient incineration capacity in the South East region if we meet the Government recycling target of 65% of waste to be recycled by 2035. They believe that allowing further incineration capacity, including Veolia's proposal at Alton, risks the achievement of this target.
Net Loss of Jobs in Local Area
Veolia's application states that the incinerator would employ 29 people. However, the current recycling facility, that will be closed, employs 65 people, resulting in a net loss of almost 40 jobs in the local area, taking money out of our local economy.
Generation of Hazardous Waste
Cleaning the flue gases from the incinerator would generate "APCr", which Veolia admit is hazardous waste. The incinerator will generate 10,000 tonnes of hazardous waste per year.
Risk of Groundwater Pollution
Construction of the incinerator will require excavation into the water table to build the "tipping bunker" where waste is dumped, leading to a serious risk of contamination of a Principal Aquifer.
000s of tonnes of CO2
Burning commercial waste will generate the equivalent amount of CO2 as 100,000 more cars on the road. This goes against the UK Government's CO2 reduction commitments. Veolia has claimed the incinerator will be "climate positive", however this could only be the case if it has carbon capture technology fitted, which the planning application admits is not part of their plans, and there is no space on the site to retrofit later.
Over 90% of UK incinerators are located in industrial areas, as they are huge industrial buildings running industrial processes.
Why has Veolia not considered any alternative sites in its application?
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