A SOLIHULL councillor has slammed a ‘scurrilous’ UKIP leaflet which claims a proposed biomass plant at Meriden Quarry will pump ‘toxic gases’ into the air.
Tony Dicicco, Meriden councillor and cabinet member for environment, housing and regeneration, has dismissed the leaflet’s contents as scaremongering
The leaflet, which was circulated around Meriden homes by UKIP campaigner Leslie Kaye, claims the wood chips which would be burned at the plant could be contaminated with lead-based pains, chemicals and plastics.
The pamphlet, entitled ‘Biomass plant kicks up a nasty smell in Meriden’, argues the burning of such materials could give off ‘cyanide and other toxic gasses’ into the air.
Also included is a particle pollution map detailing areas affected by the proposed plant.
Using the diagram, Mr Kaye argues: “Most directly impacted by pollution will be the excellent £750,000 village sports facility where healthy exercise will become a thing of the past.
“Further along the path of the filth will be the school and playground where young lungs will soak up the harmful emissions.”
Among other claims, the leaflet argues house prices in Meriden could fall on account of the biomass plant and says laundry, cars and windows would be dirtied by the ‘continuous’ pollution.
But Coun Dicicco dismissed the claims, arguing the distorted facts were designed to ‘promote confusion and uncertainty’.
He said: “I have read the leaflet being circulated to residents of Meriden concerning the proposed biomass plant, with a mix of anger and incredulity.
“The scurrilous claims being made by UKIP have no basis in fact and are purely designed to scare local people.
“The proposed biomass plant will have to meet very stringent emissions regulations set by the Environment Agency – if it didn’t it would be shut down.”
He argued the maximum emissions from the exhaust flue would be defined as ‘low’, would not reach neighbouring properties and would have ‘minimal’ impact on local air quality.
Coun Diciccio also said the plant would have to abide by air quality standards set out in the Industrial Emissions Directive and would use state-of-the-art air filtration technology – meaning it would not general toxic emissions.
He added: “I believe that the plant will offer a number of advantages to the local area in terms of employment and reducing the amount of our rubbish sent to landfill, which in turn causes problems to local people.
“I support the Meriden Parish Council and SMBC Planning Committee decision to support this proposed development.”
The plans for the biomass plant in Meriden Quarry were given the green light by Solihull Council’s planning committee in January.
The proposed site off Cornets End Lane would divert 45,000 tonnes of biodegradable waste a year away from landfill recycling it to compost and would produce 500kw of renewable electricity – making the building self-sufficient for energy and placing no demand on the National Grid.
It is hoped the development, which will be made up of a composting, biomass energy and waste water treatment plant will help contribute towards the national and local recycling targets.
The site could open as early as 2017.