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Monday, 14 January, 2002, 14:00 GMT
Petition against incinerator plans
Assembly Members John Marek and Janet Ryder
Many Wrexham residents are against an incinerator
Opponents of a 25m incinerator planned for Wrexham have handed a petition, containing thousands of signatures, to Welsh Assembly Members and local council officers.

The proposal, by the Portuguese-based company HLC, has been criticised by local people who say it could have massive health implications - including birth defects and infertility.

Wrexham Industrial Estate
Emissions from the site would be monitored

The protest, outside Wrexham Guildhall, was organised by TCC, a coalition of community groups.

Chris Taylor from TCC said: "The people of Wales have spoken out against the incinerator.

"We've got a petition with nearly 13,000 signatures from people who do not want an incinerator, we think that this is probably the biggest petition there has ever been in Wrexham."

Campaigners against the scheme - including local Assembly Member Dr John Marek - claim public opposition is high, despite reassurances from HLC that the plant would be safe.

Dr Marek said: "There will be people who will be ill if this incinerator goes ahead and we've got to do all we can to stop it."

Marlene Griffiths
Marlene Griffiths: More consultation needed

North Wales Health Authority have investigated potential health risks regarding the Resource Recovery Centre.

They have said emissions from the incinerator would be monitored to ensure public health was not at risk.

Currently, around 96% of waste in Wrexham goes to landfill sites - 3% is recycled.

HLC have said the new plant, which would be built on the Wrexham Industrial Estate, could deal with 120,000 tonnes of waste a year.

They claim that around 40% would be composted or recycled, and approximately 40% of the remaining waste would be combusted and turned into energy.

There are alternatives to incineration, there are alternatives to landfill, we can have recycling

John Marek, AM

Council officers claim improvements have to be made for waste collection in the county.

However, Wrexham resident Marlene Griffiths has accused the council of not listening to their views.

"I'm concerned about this incinerator, I suppose primarily because we haven't really had any consultation with the council over it.

"I think they're just riding roughshod over the feelings of the people," she said.

North Wales members of the assembly want more schemes set up to recycle rubbish.

Mr Marek argued: "There are alternatives to incineration, there are alternatives to landfill, we can have recycling."

Full investigation

Janet Ryder AM, added: "There is a great deal of concern about incinerating waste, we need not only the council here but the government and the assembly to listen to those concerns.

"Like many of you I would much rather see a heavier emphasis on re-use and recycling, there are other ways and we can't afford not to explore them."

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas sits on the House of Commons Committee for the Environment.

He told protestors a full investigation was needed: "What I want to do is to press on the committee to investigate incineration as a means of disposal and whether in principle it is a safe way to deal with the continuing problem of the disposal of waste."

The 13,000 - name petition will be handed to the Welsh Environment Minister Sue Essex by the deputy presiding officer and Wrexham AM John Marek.

Dr Marek said he would urge the minister to call in the decision over the incinerator so it could be fully debated in Cardiff.

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