NEW plans to build a major £50m incinerator have been met with anger.

Clearaway, a Basildon based recycling firm, has announced its intention to build the incinerator off Archers Field Close, next to the Burnt Mills Industrial estate, but the borough has united in its opposition for the plans.

Basildon Standard:

Up in arms - councillors Craig Rimmer and Luke Mackenzie

The incinerator, which would feature two huge chimneys, would burn landfill waste from across the county and “create secure, low carbon sources of energy” - but major concerns have been raised over the amount of sulphur dioxide that would be released.

The threat of an incinerator and the issues of processing waste has hung over Basildon for decades, with the Echo running a Don’t Dump on Basildon from 2006 to 07, which called on Essex County Council to rethink plans to build on Courtauld Road, Pitsea, which would deal with 585,000 tonnes of waste per year.

Despite the opposition from this newspaper, MPs, and campaigners, the council approved the scheme but it was never developed.

Brothers Ian and Paul Whitehair, who run Clearaway, have launched a consultation for the new £50m Archers Fields Energy Recovery Facility.

It is believed a planning application will be submitted by end of June, with the aim to have the facility up and running in two years time, if given the go ahead.

Once Clearway submit the plans, ECC will be carrying out its own consultation into the proposals.

The first consultation has been met with anger from joint calls across the political spectrum in Basildon.

Both the leader of Basildon Council, Gavin Callaghan, and the Tory leader, Andrew Baggott, have raised major concerns over the amount of sulphur dioxide that could be released over Pitsea and Wickford.

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, has also thrown his weight behind the critics, saying “It can’t be right that as we try and improve our air quality and clean up our environment that the only way to deal with our waste is to burn it.

We have to find a better more sustainable way to tackle waste and incinerating it is not the answer.”

Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford has joined his Parliamentary colleague in opposing the plans.

Luke Mackenzie, Conservative councillor of the Pitsea south east ward, said: “The Government has already said that pollution in the area is too high “The levels of sulphur dioxide that could be emitted by the incinerator are deeply troubling.”

“On one hand to be asked to clean up our act on air quality by the DEFRA along the A127 and on the other hand to be told we might have to put up with two chimney stacks polluting our air is totally unacceptable.”

Mr Baggott added: “I will be writing to Clearaway to express our concerns and recommend in the strongest possible terms that they consider other options elsewhere.”

A petition has been launched by the Basildon Conservatives, which can be found at http:// chng.it/dqZf7LdGJk