Health and terrorism fears over new Gloucestershire incinerator
AN incinerator would reduce residents' life expectancies by 11 years and put the area at risk of a terrorist attack, experts claim.
Plans to build a £500million waste burner at Javelin Park near Haresfield could impact the health of people living within a 15-mile radius, engulfing both Gloucester and Cheltenham, Dr Dick Van Steenis said on Wednesday night.
The retired GP said his research into areas downwind of incinerators show an increase in baby defects, deaths among babies and deaths from heart attacks and cancer.
Within five years, there would be 1,200 extra deaths and residents would have to foot a £280million NHS bill, according to Dr Van Steenis, who has lectured worldwide about the issue.
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Dr Van Steenis said: "It is now up to the people to rise up and say enough is enough. We don't want any extra deaths. These incinerators are junk and they kill.
"We will start to see babies being born with defects. People should be worried about this. They will come first, and then heart attacks and cancers will follow within a few years."
Dr Van Steenis recommends the use of plasma units, which he says are a cleaner and cheaper alternative.
He was talking to residents at Hardwicke Village Hall after parish councillors from Quedgeley and Hardwicke joined forces to protest against the plans.
Security risk expert Malcolm Cheshire, a Quedgeley resident of 27 years, warned at the meeting that the incinerator could also make the city a terrorist threat. He said: "Biological, chemical and radiological weapons could be created from certain chemicals and gases that are secreted from the site."
Gloucestershire County Council's Cabinet is likely to give a 25-year contract to Urbaser Balfour Beatty on Wednesday.
Councillor Stan Waddington, champion for waste, said: "This deal is good value for Gloucestershire and will help us deliver a green and affordable solution to our rubbish."
The council hopes to save £190million over 25 years.
A UBB spokesperson said: “Dr Van Steenis has raised his concerns at a number of public inquiries in the country where his evidence on health effects and alternative technologies has been considered but not accepted.”
"All thermal treatment facilities must comply with the same stringent emissions limits.
"Energy from waste is a tried and tested technology and there are currently more than 350 operating throughout Europe.
"Had we have been invited to Dr Van Steenis' presentation we would have been able to provide the alternative perspective, which is based on credible evidence rather than scare-mongering.
“The Health Protection Agency's position is that well run and regulated modern Municipal Waste Incinerators are not a significant risk to public health. All thermal treatment facilities, including energy from waste and gasification plants, must comply with the same stringent emissions limits. Energy from waste is a tried and tested technology and there are currently more than 350 operating throughout Europe."
They said security measures were already planned.