Waste plant protesters call for Government intervention
CAMPAIGNERS against the Javelin Park incinerator insist families are being bypassed in the planning process that could see a £500 million waste plant erected near junction 12 of the M5 at Haresfield.
The 'monster' incinerator edged nearer reality this month when a contract was signed between Gloucestershire County Council and waste firm Urbaser Balfour Beatty.
A Liberal Democrat 'call-in' of the decision was thrown out days later. Despite the agreement, protesters say the development can still be stopped in its tracks as planning permission is yet to be granted.
They are now calling for the Secretary of State to step in and make the final decision on the controversial project and a public inquiry.
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Helen Michael, who lives in Hardwicke, is so incensed by the scheme, she took to the streets of Gloucester on Saturday to gather anti-incinerator signatures on a petition.
"I have never protested about anything before in my life," she said. "My faith in the democratic process and the institution has been shattered.
"There is not a democracy in this issue, more of a 'shamocracy', it's disgraceful.
"The reason there is so much public apathy to the incinerator in the county is because the council hasn't told people the full details. Public consultation has taken place during peak times when people are either at work or putting their children to bed.
"By not getting involved or making the effort to find out what is happening, people are effectively supporting the incinerator.
"I have stood outside Tesco's to hand out leaflets to young families and they have said 'what incinerator?'
"As it is on the outskirts of Gloucester, people think it won't effect them - but it will effect all of us. The toxic chemicals and nano-particles will be coming 15 miles downwind and get dumped on a high-population density.
"There is scientific evidence to suggest that infant mortality rises by 8 in 1000 in areas downwind of an incinerator. That is a huge increase. People need to become informed to realise the impact on their lives, as house prices will also fall in nearby areas."
Standish resident Sue Oppenheimer has joined the campaign as part of the Glosvain protest group.
"We need to raise the profile of this campaign, this is not a done deal and people can still make a difference.
"They need to know there are alternatives to an incinerator that would be better for the tax payer, better for their health, the environment and our pockets.
"Neighbouring councils in South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset, have got a facility they have contracted in Avonmouth. It cost around £25 million to build.
"It is considerably smaller at just 15 metres high and will take less time to build, is cheaper and uses a more effective technology than Javelin Park.
"We are asking the Secretary of State to step-in and make a decision on this, it needs to be taken out of the council's hands."