ONE of the largest recycling centres in Europe – and one at the centre of a controversial planning application – is running again as normal after a fire.
The blaze broke out within a 200-ton pile of recyclable waste at the Veolia recycling centre on the A31 Farnham Road just outside Alton.
Crews from Alton, Surrey and Rushmoor were called at 5.15am on December 29 to the fire, supported by an environmental protection unit from Romsey.
The site’s staff supported firefighters in removing some of the waste to allow the crews to reach the fire and limit its spread.
Firefighters used breathing apparatus, jets and hose reels to extinguish the blaze, which was out by 8.32am.
The £14 million centre was 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 Portsmouth and Southampton, 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 South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt.
Also objecting are 19 parish councils, two town councils and three district councils, and residents have formed the No Wey Incinerator action group to campaign against the proposal.
For more information on the No Wey Incinerator campaign visit the website at https://www.noweyincinerator.com/