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INQUIRY INTO UK'S LARGEST MUNICIPAL WASTE INCINERATOR CLOSES

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Bexley LBC gave its final submissions and other objectors entered their last pleas at concluding sessions of the in...
Bexley LBC gave its final submissions and other objectors entered their last pleas at concluding sessions of the incinerator inquiry last week.

Neil King QC, on behalf of the council, said the proposal for what would be the UK's largest municipal waste incinerator would have to satisfy the secretary of state that it was 'the right proposal, at the right time and in the right place.'

Since the inquiry started on 1 July, the council has led fierce opposition to plans by Riverside Resource Recovery Ltd to build a waste to energy incinerator at Norman Road, Belvedere.

Its main grounds of objection are the impact such a massive incinerator, burning waste from a wide area of London, would have on the area and its image - at a time when local, regional and national policy is seeking to regenerate this part of London and the Thames estuary.

The council has argued that the proposal flies in the face of the proximity principle, which requires waste to be dealt with in the area in which it is produced.

At the inquiry, residents, businesses, MPs and representatives from the London Assembly, AXA/Sunlife/dmi, Bexley Thameside Partnership and the Thames Gateway London Partnership, also voiced their concerns against the incinerator.

'The widespread local opposition to this proposal has its roots not only in a genuine fear about what the incinerator might do to the health of those living in the area, but also in the fact that the battle has had to be fought again and again over so many years,' said Mr King.

The latest in a series of attempts to build an incinerator on the northern edge of the borough, began when Riverside Resource Recovery Ltd submitted its proposal to the secretary of state in September 1999.

Council leader Chris Ball said: 'We have invested a great deal of time, money and expertise, to stop this enormous incinerator being built. Local residents have shown dedication and determination beyond belief in their fight against the plans. Let us hope t hat this is the fourth and final time Bexley has to say 'no'.'

Inspector Keith Smith will now prepare his report for the secretary of state, using evidence gathered and submitted as part of the inquiry. A decision is expected to made about the incinerator next year.

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