Page last updated at 19:30 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 20:30 UK

Health concern over proposed Lee Mill incinerator

Artist's impression of incinerator (pic: Viridor)
Some locals fear an incinerator could adversely affect their health

Environmental campaigners have said that plans to build an energy from waste plant in Devon should be abandoned on public health grounds.

Campaigners said a report by Defra showed there was no "safe" limit for exposure to PM2.5 pollutants.

PM2.5s are fine, particles which can be emitted during incineration.

Virridor Waste Management said its proposed Ivybridge plant would meet environmental standards and be fitted with an emissions monitoring system.

Dr Chris Westwood from Save Our South Hams said: "Defra published a report on air quality which raised concerns about PM2.5s and have shown that these may cause ill health."

'Sense of proportion'

The report, called "Air Pollution: 'Action in a Changing Climate'", stated that: "Current evidence suggests that there is no "safe" limit for exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

"Assessment, based on 2008 data, shows that the average reduction in life expectancy is six months and the annual cost £15bn [in healthcare]."

Ben Jennings from Devon County Council, which received a planning application from Virador last month, said: "The important thing is to keep a sense of proportion and recognise that if they're [people] driving their cars around they also produce PM2.5s.

"Frequently people aren't that bothered about things that they're used to dealing with and its only when we come forward with some new technology that they get concerned about it."

Virador wants to build the incinerator on a former quarry it owns at Lee Mill.

The firm is one of three companies which have been asked to come up with waste disposal solutions for south Devon.

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