LEADER of the Green Party Natalie Bennett has urged campaigners opposing the Javelin Park incinerator to ‘keep fighting’.

The environmental politician’s comments came at a packed meeting at Randwick Village Hall on Wednesday, where she addressed residents concerned with ‘potentially dangerous’ emissions from the controversial £150million waste burner.

Randwick is one of the villages now identified as being within the zone of pollution from the incinerator, which is due to be operational by spring 2016.

Speaking on a panel alongside councillors, campaigners and representatives from the Community R4C project, Bennett urged everyone involved not to give up the fight.

Pointing to examples of other incinerators around the country that had been defeated, she stressed the battle was ‘not over yet’.

“It seems crazy that the county council is still going ahead with the incinerator when there appear to be much cheaper and greener alternatives,” she said.

“The Green Party would always support the fight against this kind of outdated 20th century technology.

“We are treating the planet as a mine and a dumping ground and that simply can’t continue.”

Her comments came after new independent studies found that the pollution created by the incinerator could extend to populated areas of the Stroud District.

The new research carried out by Plumeplotter using AERMOD modelling software, updated with more accurate wind and weather data, suggests the fumes and gasses created by the incinerator could reach the hills of Stroud.

This includes areas such as Edge, Paganhill, Whiteshill, Ruscombe and Randwick itself.

Moreton Valence, Haresfield and Kingsway have already been identified as areas that will be affected.

This raised concerns among those living in the affected areas.

Green Party district councillor representing Randwick, Jonathan Edmonds, who organised the meeting, said: “As the father of two young children I worry for their future well-being.

“The worldwide Volkswagen scandal has brought into question the whole issue of whether any pre-operation testing or figures from incinerators will bear any relationship to the actual level of pollution that will be emitted for the next 25 years and its impact on our beautiful county.”

Green Party waste and recycling expert Chris Harmer, who also addressed the meeting, said the software predictions were ‘extremely worrying’.

“Although Plumeplotter shows the pollution from the incinerator would be within legal limits, there is a rising tide of opinion that there are no 'safe' levels of air pollutants, and we await a much delayed, important academic report commissioned by Public Health England, which we hope will shed more light on this.”

He added in the meantime he would be looking at the possibility of introducing independent local air quality monitoring at vulnerable sites such as schools and care homes.

Stroud News and Journal:

Green Party county councillor Sarah Lunnon (Central) said: “The data and the existence of cheaper greener alternatives to incineration raise serious questions about the viability of the Javelin Park proposal.”

Also on hand were representatives of the Community R4C project, who presented their proposal for a MBHT (Mechanical, Biological and Heat Treatment) plant.

They argue the rival facility will be smaller, far better environmentally and cost the taxpayer one tenth that of incineration.

But Javier Peiro, project director for UBB, said: “The limitations of the AERMOD modelling software on which the Plumeplotter results are based were discussed at length during the Public Inquiry, specifically the way that AERMOD considers elevated terrain.

“UBB decided to use an alternative model known as ADMS as it takes more accurate account of the terrain surrounding the facility and, in particular, models the flow of air over and around hills.

“The possible impact of emissions from the facility was not disputed during the planning process for the Javelin Park EfW (at committee, appeal or legal challenge).

“The Environment Agency raised no concerns with UBB’s proposals when awarding an Environmental Permit, and, along with UBB, will continue to monitor the facility through construction, commissioning and operational phases of the project.”

Click here to see more of Natalie Bennett’s visit to Stroud.