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Public health fears over incinerator are 'justified' says expert

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: October 23, 2012

Artist's impression of the new incinerator

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FEARS over the public health impact of a planned incinerator are "justified", a professor has claimed.

Modelling used for Gloucestershire's planned £500 million incinerator at Haresfield is "flawed", according to Professor Vyvyan Howard.

Prof Howard, a former toxicologist for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was asked by protest group GlosVAIN to produce an analysis of Urbaser Balfour Beatty's (UBB) plans.

It comes after Gloucestershire County Council signed a 25-year contract with the firm to deal with the county's waste.

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Prof Howard says there are three shortcomings in the plans. He claims UBB has not said what level of uncertainty there is around their health projections.

He adds that UBB has "significantly underestimated" the level of potentially dangerous particles that will be emitted from the plant.

He also claims the modelling does not take into account other effects on the human body.

He said: "Public concern over these inadequacies is understandable and justified."

Sue Oppenheimer, chairman of Glosvain, said: "Professor Howard's research is very worrying.

"It raises real questions about the validity of UBB's claims that the incinerator would be safe."

Fellow campaigner Diana Shirley said: "It is time for Gloucestershire County Council to put the health of the people of the county first."

A spokesperson for Urbaser Balfour Beatty said: "Strict and highly regulated operating procedures and controls will ensure that the facility does not have an adverse impact on human health.

"The facility will incorporate bag filters which are best available technology, and are effective at removing particles from the plant's emissions."

A spokesman for Gloucestershire County Council said: "The issues of air quality and the proposed energy from waste facility at Javelin Park will be considered by both the planning authority and the Environment Agency."

The council has signed a contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty but planning permission is yet to be granted.

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  • Future2010  |  October 23 2012, 6:07PM

    Cllr. Stan Waddington refused a request for their "expert" Professor Harrison to take part in a public debate with Professor Vyvyan Howard. That fact speaks for itself.

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  • Lecorche  |  October 23 2012, 12:10PM

    I would tend to believe the ex-Defra guy. I wouldn't trust GCC or their 'Experts' as far as I could throw a Bin Lorry!

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  • zerowaster  |  October 23 2012, 11:47AM

    Bonkim - you can read the whole report at http://tinyurl.com/blg5n7r under 'publications' and you'll find it's comprehensive. Pros. Harrison's reports aren't even referenced and use out=of-date material - and he's getting paid £10k or more by GCC to 'say the right thing'. Who do you think is the most credible capital1978? I have no doubts.

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  • Future2010  |  October 23 2012, 11:43AM

    Believe medically qualified Professor Vyvyan Howard, and not G.C.C.'s "expert" Professor Harrison because Professor Harrison holds no medical qualification whatsoever. Or if you broke your leg would you go to a car mechanic to have it fixed?

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  • capital1978  |  October 23 2012, 10:13AM

    All that happens is that the anti side get a professor to say it is dangerous and the council get a professor to say it is safe. Who should the open minded believe?

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  • Bonkim2003  |  October 23 2012, 10:01AM

    Would the good Prof Howard please state: what degrees of uncertainty/confidence levels should be used in the health projections and how these differ from that in the Environmental Report. What are the allowed limits of " potentially dangerous particles that can be emitted from such plants" and how do these differ from that he fears will be emitted in accordance with the environmental report submitted, and/or from his experience of such plants if any. What other effects on the human body does he suspect the modelling has not taken account of in the environmental report?

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