Burning questions over incinerator plan
I ATTENDED the Environment Agency consultation in Ivybridge concerning plans to build a mass-burn incinerator at the New England Quarry site. This event closely resembled a public relations exercise on behalf of the incinerator company.
Environmental manager Judy Proctor's explanation as to why the Environment Agency approves permits (The Herald, October 5) and her comments promoting incineration are significant to me because they raise the question of ethics and accountability.
How can this agency, whose fundamental responsibility is the protection of the environment, serve the best interests of people, animals, plants, and the air we breathe on one hand and, on the other hand, the commercial business interests of incinerator companies? These two interests, I believe, are incompatible.
Without a permit from the Environment Agency any new incinerator project would be a non-starter, stopped – a simple solution to a highly controversial issue.
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However, despite the absence of validated evidence that incinerator emissions, particularly regarding toxic nano-particles, pose no significant risks to human health and the environment, risk assessments are used to conveniently bypass this inconvenient but important fact.
I have no doubt that an incinerator company will always meet the standards required by this Environment Agency as evidenced by its admittance it has yet to refuse one. Unfortunately, I doubt that these standards are equal to the best interests of human health and the environment.
Until this biased undemocratic process is changed, I have no doubt the Environment Agency will continue to issue permits for mass-burn incinerators – not because they are a proven safe technology but because they have the power to do so.