Centre could pave way for a burner at Alton site

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OUTDATED recycling centres at Alton and Portsmouth could be replaced by a new one at Eastleigh – potentially paving the way for the Alton site to be used for an incinerator instead.

Hampshire County Council has asked Veolia to prepare and submit a planning application seeking permission for a materials recovery facility at Chickenhall Lane in Eastleigh to comply with potential new laws and recycle plastic pots, tubs and trays, glass and cartons as well as the current plastic bottles, steel and aluminium cans, paper and cardboard.

Deputy county council leader Cllr Rob Humby said packaging habits and recycling demands had moved on from when the Alton and Portsmouth sites were built 20 years ago.

He said: "Since then there have been huge changes in retail and consumer behaviour and the significant renovation of the facilities that would be needed to increase their scope is neither physically viable nor cost effective."

The application will be funded by Hampshire county, Portsmouth city and Southampton city councils, which provide and oversee waste processing and disposal infrastructure to deal with waste from all of Hampshire.

The development would also include a material analysis facility providing data on the quantity and quality of material collected and processed, office space, welfare facilities and parking.

But the No Wey Incinerator action group, campaigning against Veolia’s plan for an incinerator at Alton, said while Surrey recycled almost 60 per cent of its waste, Hampshire only managed 35 per cent - and the Eastleigh centre would process 60 per cent less waste than the combined amount dealt with in Alton and Portsmouth.

No Wey Incinerator added: "That does not appear to be sufficient for the county’s needs if Hampshire is to meet its objective of doubling recycling rates by 2035.

"Also, if Hampshire is so desperately in need of a fourth incinerator, why was one not built at the Eastleigh site, which was given permission for an incinerator seven years ago?

"The government has stated that if the national target of 65 per cent of material recycled by 2035 is met there is no need for any further incineration capacity in the UK. This is particularly relevant to Hampshire, which already has three incinerators run by Veolia."

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