Any new waste facility should be in an industrial area not in a Valued Landscape, says CPRE Hampshire

25th August 2020

CPRE Hampshire, the countryside charity, has submitted a detailed response to Hampshire County Council on the proposed development of the Veolia Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) near the A31 between Alton and Bentley.

Expert volunteers from CPRE Hampshire’s South Downs and Central Planning Group have concluded that the needs for and benefits of the proposed development do not outweigh the significant adverse impacts on the landscape, environment and local communities, and the planning application should be refused.

CPRE Hampshire has also concluded that the adjoining countryside is of such high quality as to qualify as Valued Landscape, which is required to be protected from adverse impacts. They say that if an ERF plant is required, it should be located in an industrial area.

CPRE Hampshire strongly supports the avoidance of landfill by reuse and recycling of waste. Christopher Napier OBE, of CPRE Hampshire, says: ‘We would wish for 100% reuse and recycling of waste, but accept that some degree of energy recovery by incineration of unrecyclable waste is currently needed. This does generate heat and electricity. So CPRE does not in principle oppose energy recovery facilities.

Critical, however, to our approach to any proposal for new energy recovery facility is its location and size, and corresponding impacts on landscape character, visual amenity, and local amenity. Also issues of water supply and disposal, and traffic routes for supply of feed and disposal of ash.’

CPRE Hampshire has also looked at the issue of need and is concerned that a large ERF plant replacing the existing Materials Recycling Facility near Alton would lead to a reduction in the Hampshire recycling rate. Hampshire is currently ranked 197th in DEFRA’s local authority recycling league table at only 41.3%.

Additionally, a major issue with ERF plants is the need for a large amount of feedstock on a 24 hours a day basis. This calls for long term contracts for supply waste which has not been reused or recycled, which will deter reuse and recycling and tend to perpetuate release of CO2 into the atmosphere contrary to climate change ambitions.

A consequence of the rural location of the proposed plant is that there is no local demand for the heat recovered from the ERF process, which CPRE Hampshire understands is the majority of the recovered energy, and which will therefore go to waste. Nor is there within the planning application any mechanism for delivery of the generated electricity to the national grid.

To view CPRE Hampshire’s full response, including its Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, please click here: Veolia. CPREH Response.

The edge of Round Wood on the St Swithun's Way in East Hampshire – a Valued Landscape Christopher Napier OBE
Children climbing in the New Forest