It's business as usual at an East Hampshire recycling centre after a fire

By The Post  
Wednesday 5th January 2022 2:22 pm
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The fire was quickly put out with help from staff

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AN East Hampshire recycling centre, one of the largest in Europe – and that is at the centre of a controversial planning application – is running as normal after a fire.

The blaze broke out within a 200-tonne pile of recyclable waste at the Veolia recycling centre in Farnham Road just outside Alton.

Crews from Alton, Surrey and Rushmoor were called at 5.15am on December 29 to the fire, as well as an Environmental Protection Unit from Romsey.

The site’s staff supported firefighters in removing some of the waste to allow the crews to access the fire and limit the spread.

Firefighters used breathing apparatus, jets and hose reels to extinguish the blaze, which was out by 8.32am.

The £14m centre opened in 2005 to the accolade of being one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

It recycles waste from across the county, including East Hampshire.

Waste disposal in Hampshire is managed by the joint Project Integra partnership.

The partnership – between Hampshire County Council, the two unitary authorities of Southampton and Portsmouth, the 11 Hampshire district councils and Veolia – was launched in 1995.

But since then the population has grown and waste is still being sent to landfill, as existing energy recovery facilities in Hampshire are operating at capacity.

And now the Alton site is at the centre of contentious plans to replace it.

Veolia wants to build and operate an incinerator, or energy recovery facility, that would join similar ones operating at Marchwood, Chineham and Portsmouth.

These safely incinerate the waste and use the heat from this process to create steam, in turn generating electricity which is fed to the National Grid.

The Alton application has attracted more than 5,000 objections from residents and businesses, as well as from East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds and MP for South West Surrey Jeremy Hunt.

Also objecting are 19 parish councils, two town councils, and three district councils, and residents have formed the No Wey Incincerator action group to campaign against the proposal.

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