Fury grows over incinerator plan for Leicestershire
Opposition is growing to plans to build a giant waste incinerator in Leicestershire.
As revealed in yesterday's Leicester Mercury, waste management firm Biffa wants to build a combustion plant next to the M1, near Shepshed, which will burn up to 300,000 tonnes of rubbish a year.
The company says the process will allow it to produce enough renewable electricity to power 42,000 homes a year.
But nearby residents say they do not want the large-scale complex on their doorsteps.
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Shepshed town councillor Roy Kershaw said people were stunned by the proposal for Biffa's Newhurst Quarry site.
He said: "We will fight this all the way. We have no problem with the principle of generating electricity from waste but the location is all wrong.
"It is too close to large centres of population in Shepshed and Loughborough.
"The process of burning so much rubbish will inevitably produce harmful emissions and whatever controls Biffa say they will implement, it will still pose a hazard.
"On top of that, the plant itself is monstrous, with that giant stack."
Biffa will apply for planning permission for the incinerator in November.
The company already has permission from the County Council to build a waste recycling and landfill complex at the quarry which would process up to 375,000 tonnes of rubbish annually.
It would drop that proposal if the incinerator was approved.
Mr Kershaw added: "It was with great reluctance that we accepted the idea of the first plant. An incinerator is a completely different thing entirely."
The proposed plant is around half a mile from the nearest homes in Shepshed and a mile from those in Loughborough.
County councillor for Loughborough Max Hunt said: "People will be hugely concerned by this. For those living downwind of it, including many of my residents, there will be great fear about the potential effect on air quality."
Biffa spokesman John Dresser said: "The plant will be an environmentally-sealed unit that operates within all the very stringent legal requirements.
"We understand the concerns people have and they will be properly addressed.
"Our view is we have a wonderful opportunity to tap a source of renewable electricity. We are making the best use of people's rubbish by creating power, rather than tipping it in a hole in the ground."
The plant, if approved by the county council, would be built by 2015 and would create 400 jobs in the construction phase.
After that, it would be operated by 40 full-time staff through its 25-year life.
It would include a visitor centre for pre-arranged tours, such as visits by schools.
Mr Dresser said: "Visitors would get the chance to learn about how the plant works. There would be displays on recycling and some other approaches to handling waste."
Biffa is one of three companies bidding for the £86m county council contract to dispose of the county's rubbish between 2015 and 2040. It is the first to reveal details of its plans.
Biffa staff will be available to answer questions about the plant at public exhibitions next month – on September 19, at Shepshed Town Council offices in Charnwood Road, Shepshed, and on September 20, at Loughborough University.