Ford waste facility’s chimney ‘would be taller than Chichester Cathedral’

Residents are being urged to have their say about plans for an ‘energy from waste’ incinerator site at Ford.

Thursday, 30th July 2020, 10:04 am
Updated Monday, 10th August 2020, 11:57 am
Concern over plans for a new energy recovery facility. Danny Armstrong (Parish Councillor), Dawn Smith (Vice Chair of Ford Parish Council), Dawn Hudson (Member of the Neighborhood Development Group), Trevor Ford (Chairman of Ford Parish Council). Pic Steve Robards SR2008011 SUS-200108-155449001

Grundon Waste Management and Viridor have submitted an application to West Sussex County Council to build the energy recovery facility on Ford Road, alongside a waste sorting and transfer centre.

If approved, the site would deal with some 275,000 tonnes of waste per year – generating enough energy to power around 68,000 homes.

But it would also leave a huge blot on the landscape, with its 280ft (85m) chimney standing taller than Chichester Cathedral. 

The main building would stand 167ft (51m) high, large enough to swallow many of the most distinctive buildings in the area, including Arundel Cathedral and the Skyline Pavilion at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis.

With the deadline for comments fast approaching, Ford Parish Council has called on residents to make their feelings about the application known.

Dozens have already done so, bombarding the county council’s planning portal with concerns about the number of lorries expected to go to and from the site – and the ability of the roads to cope, the sheer size of the facility, and the impact such a development would have on people’s physical and mental health.

A parish council spokesman said: “The size and scale of the building will influence and make an unacceptable impact on the landscape and character in the surrounding areas.

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“We believe the effect to the historic features of Arundel and the views from the South Downs National Park will be blighted and damaged forever.

“We also believe the site is unnecessary and the government’s drive to reduce and bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 would be much diminished.” 

Trevor Ford, chairman of the parish council, said the country should be recycling more rubbish and not burning it in incinerators especially given the pressures of climate change.

He added: “This project is just huge. It’s so out of character and is going to blight the whole of the Arun Valley.”

Concern over plans for a new energy recovery facility. Trevor Ford (Chairman of Ford Parish Council). Pic Steve Robards SR2008011 SUS-200108-155522001

Amanda Worne, chairman of Arun District Council, was one of the dozens who have objected to the application.

With plans for 1,500 homes at nearby Ford Airfield, Mrs Worne said the application was for ‘a totally unsuitable industrial plant’ that would ‘affect so many people’s lives in a negative way’.

She added: “The surrounding road structure is not sustainable to accommodate heavier, larger lorries which will be used when the plant is built.

“The environment and health of the surrounding community is at risk too.

“This isn’t an application to meet the needs of the people it is purely one for the proposers to make financial gain.

“The Human Rights Act is being broken on so many levels and this proposal should not be allowed to happen.” 

A spokesman for Ford Energy from Waste Limited said the facility would bring up to 56 full-time jobs and could be ‘constructed and operated in a way that keeps impacts on local people or infrastructure – including new housing proposed locally – to a minimum’.

He added: “Our proposals for a new energy recovery facility (ERF) at Ford allow us to make better, safer, more economic and more sustainable use of the non-recyclable waste we produce locally and help close a significant waste management capacity gap in West Sussex. 

“There are over 60 ERFs successfully operated across the UK and it has been proven to be a safe and sustainable way of managing non-recyclable waste generated locally.”

To comment on the plans visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/planning and search for application WSCC/036/20.

The deadline is Sunday August 9.

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