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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 21:01 GMT
Protesters win incinerator fight
Huge community support has grown against the plans
Councillors have voted against controversial plans for a 25m waste incinerator to be built on the outskirts of Wrexham.

After months of deliberation, councillors refused to support a recommendation to back the application by Portuguese-based firm HLC.


The county will now have to make a case against the proposal at the public inquiry

Janet Williams campaigner

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the public gallery to hear the verdict on Tuesday.

Chris Pilsbury from TCC - the community group opposed to the scheme - was overjoyed by the result.

"This is a good day for democracy - we're delighted," she said.

The Welsh Assembly Government had already announced it intended to hold a public inquiry into the proposed site, which could handle more than 100,000 tonnes of waste each year.

While the final decision will be made in Cardiff, Wrexham council's vote will be taken into consideration.

Janet Williams from Cefn Mawr said everyone had been taken back by the council decision.

"I must admit we didn't expect this result because the council have been so determined right the way through to support this proposal.

"The county will now have to make a case against the proposal at the public inquiry."


I can't possibly support it when there is a risk, no matter how small or how great

Councillor Ron Davies

One of the opponents of the project, Nia Higginbotham, said she was pleased with the result.

"I'm flabbergasted and delighted that sense has been seen at last.

"Wrexham has stopped passing the book and taken the bull by its horns and made a decision," she said.

The council met to vote on the issue last week, but then asked to look at the scheme's proposed site once again.

Peoples lives

The proposal has faced fierce criticism from local people on health grounds.

Councillor Bob Dutton said he had no choice but to vote against the application.

"I am concerned that we have had 13,000 signatures against this application.

"We should not support this application because of the risk."

Fellow councillor Ron Davies added: "I can't possibly support it when there is a risk, no matter how small or how great.

site
The site where the plant would be built

"I can't support it because it may affect the lives of people now or in the future," he said.

The council's chief planning officer, Lawrence Isted, said the report into the waste recovery centre ruled that any health risk was "negligible".

Steve Burnett from HLC, the company behind the incinerator scheme, said the plans could still get the go ahead from Cardiff following the public inquiry next year.

He added that a planned contract for HLC to dispose of Wrexham Authority's waste would still stand, even though councillors rejected it at the planning stage.

The council has acknowledged that improvements have to be made for waste collection in the county.

If the incinerator had been given the go-ahead, the new plant could have dealt with 120,000 tonnes of waste each year.


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