From Keith Shaw.
RECENTLY there have been JEP reports and letters about the building of the mass-burn
municipal waste incinerator at La Collette.
New States Members appear to have taken over from the Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft, and Deputies Duhamel and Le Claire in efforts to make the States and residents realise the consequences of the last-minute signing of the contract last November by the outgoing Transport and Technical Services Minister.
Issues regarding Ramsar status, overall cost, funding arrangements, size, type of technology chosen and location are apparently raising serious doubts about the long-term viability of Jersey’s largest-ever capital project. Many believe that the technology chosen and location are both wrong, as there will still be airborne pollution and tons of toxic waste being produced, at extremely high capital and running costs.
Apparently there is a need for new access roads, plus the likelihood of major modifications to the fuel farm, potentially adding a further £80m-plus to the project costs. Has the compounded risk of having both the Island’s power supply/distribution and its only fuel resources in a tight and vulnerable location been properly assessed?
The JEP comments column reinforced the opinion that we would not have been in this situation if proper public consultation or a public inquiry had taken place. Now the overall credibility of the health impact assessments carried out by outside consultants, on behalf of TTS and Health, are being questioned.
No one doubts that the Bellozanne plant needs replacing – it may never have complied with EU regulations. TTS’s own consultants stated that in 1992 and 1996 it was non-EU compliant, recently confirmed by Jersey’s own Medical Officer of Health.
Whatever the outcome of the present debate and subsequent Scrutiny inquiries into procedures, there is still an urgent need to establish what damage to Islanders’ health could have been caused by the Bellozanne chimney in conjunction with other chimneys operated by the JERC (two) and Public Health (two). Were these EU-compliant?
When some Islanders presented these concerns to Mr Crowcroft last year he agreed to invite a well-respected GP from the UK to a public meeting at the Town Hall. The doctor talked about his experiences of the wide range of serious medical effects linked to incinerators in the UK and worldwide. He pointed out that there were alternative processes, which were cleaner, safer and far cheaper to operate.
Many also believed that the consultation exercises, managed by TTS with their various consultants, failed to respond to the views of those who attended.