Crawley News 24 Column, Thursday 14th June 2018

Toxic chemicals pumped into Crawley’s air supply would make headlines, you’d assume. Unfortunately, like other important decisions, people tend to only become aware of an issue after the decision has already been taken.

Next Tuesday, West Sussex County Council’s Planning Committee will be ruling on an application for a 24-hour incinerator with a 93 metre chimney to be built. While the structure itself would be built in Horsham, the wind direction would scatter much of the material over Crawley and that’s the worry.

In theory, a well-regulated incinerator could remove most toxic material from its exhaust, but the UK’s regulatory regime is weak and that leaves claims about the safety of the technology highly suspect. Crawley’s air quality is poor, with an Air Quality Management Area already in place around the worst affected part of the town. Campaigners estimate that the new incinerator will put out an additional 162,000kg of nitrous oxide alone into our air supply. When better alternatives to burning waste exist, we shouldn’t allow our health to be put at risk.

So what can you do about it? Write to Planning members and encourage others to do likewise, let them know what you think about the proposed incinerator’s risks. Fortunately the committee’s chair is Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley’s Conservatives and County Councillor for Tilgate and Furnace Green, who will hopefully be open to protecting Crawley’s air quality. Next, try and make it along to the Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday. Unfortunately, they’ve refused to have the meeting near to where the incinerator would be built, so the meeting will be taking place in Chichester. Finally, sign and share this petition, to show the level of opposition to the proposals: http://www.change.org/p/no-incinerator-4-horsham

Your health isn’t a commodity to be sold off, let’s hope the committee remembers that next week.

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