Town raises £18,000 to fight plans to recycle Plymouth incinerator ash
A SMALL town has raised more than half the money it needs to try to fight off plans to take in Plymouth's incinerator ash.
The legal fund to fight a proposed ash processing plant in Buckfastleigh has reached £18,000, more than halfway to the target £30,000.
Gilpin Demolition, the owners of a quarry on the outskirts of the town, want to take in and recycle bottom ash from the North Yard incinerator.
Gilpin and incinerator operator MVV Environment Devonport Ltd were refused permission for the ash recycling plant at Whitecleave Quarry by Devon County Council's planning committee in April last year.
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The companies have appealed against the decision.
Local residents, who organised a parish poll in which 95per cent of voters opposed the plan, are raising money for the legal fight through individual donations and community activities.
"The response has been fantastic," said Julia Wilton, co-chair of Buckfastleigh Community Forum, which is fighting the legal case.
"In just four months we have raised more than half our target and we have a series of events coming up which will bring in more.
"We are also receiving money every week via our website Paypal account or cash and cheque donations.
"Although most money has been raised locally, we've had donations from all over South Devon. It demonstrates the absolute commitment of this town and surrounding area to stop this very damaging plan from going ahead."
The town's biggest employer, Axminster Carpets, has gone into administration.
Ms Wilton said: "Everyone would prefer to be spending their time lessening the blow of this bad news rather than having to fight off something that will be so damaging to our health, environment, economy and our quality of life.
"Gilpin and MVV should hang their heads in shame – the plan has been opposed by every single democratic institution that has examined it and it is time that they respected that rather than to hire their expensive corporate lawyers to bully our community.
"We don't have their deep pockets, but they should know that we will put up a fight."
Fundraising events coming up include a jumble sale at Dean Prior Garden Centre on March 16, a piano recital on March 24 and an auction of promises on April 20.
The planning inspector will hear the appeal over a three-week period starting in June.
Paul Carey, managing director of MVV Environment Devonport, said: "This is a process that is commonly done across the country.
"It is recycling, not disposal. It's good for the environment because it displaces virgin aggregate that would otherwise have to be taken from quarries around Devon.
"We are convinced that our case is a good one."