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'RIP democracy' protest over Shrewsbury incinerator

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Protesters against a new multi-million pound incinerator have planted a gravestone marking "the death of local democracy".

The mock up headstone appeared on the roundabout in front of the Veolia waste incinerator at Battlefield in Shrewsbury.

It is not known who is responsible for the sign, which features a misspelling of the word bureaucrat.

The RIP sign to local democracy

It reads: "RIP local democracy. Died in 2012. Promised by David Cameron. Smothered by a faceless bureacrat (sic) the Planning Inspectorate."

A red and blue rosette next to the stone reads: "First Prize Veolia Sculpture Competition."

A spokesman for the planning inspectorate said the decision to grant planning permission after appeal was an "impartial" one.

And Veolia bosses said they recognised community concerns and were keeping people informed.

The stone appeared shortly after 5,000 homes were leafleted to inform residents that testing would be getting underway this month.

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People living close to the site, on the Battlefield Enterprise Park, have been warned to expect more activity, including noise and steam, in the coming weeks.

The tests will run through to early January, with the waste incinerator – known as an energy recovery facility (EFR) – expected to become fully operational next year.

Steve Mitchell, general manager for site owners Veolia, said steam-blowing and noise from the site would be higher than normal during this time.

The energy-from-waste facility has taken two years to build following a legal battle with Shropshire Council over planning permission.

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Veolia said the incinerator would burn up to 90,000 tonnes of waste taken from local homes and generate enough electricity to power 10,000 homes.

In 2007, Veolia won a 27-year contract worth £850 million from the Shropshire Waste Partnership, which is now part of Shropshire Council.

But when the council refused planning permission for the site Veolia appealed.

As a result, Shropshire Council is still paying Veolia's £825,000 legal bill, which a court agreed could be covered by instalments of £40,000 a year.

A Planning Inspectorate spokesman said: "The role of the Planning Inspectorate is to make impartial decisions on planning appeals. Inspectors will consider all the evidence placed before them and take account of planning policy, guidance and legislation at the time.

"This planning appeal was decided in 2012 after careful consideration of the of the evidence and views submitted during the inquiry."

A Veolia spokesman said: "Veolia recognises that some local residents do have some concerns. We have kept the local community informed throughout construction and we will continue to do this during commissioning and as we begin operations."

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