Residents get to have first say on plans for waste disposal sites
Concerned residents will voice "disquiet" over controversial plans on sites earmarked for waste disposal over the next 20 years.
Eight sites across Devon have been put forward as possibilities to accommodate future waste – an issue which often provokes an outcry.
Now, councillors and community groups have been invited to the first of two special meetings to be held by Devon County Council's development management committee, where members will hear direct from the people who will be affected, in a new style of consultation which aims to ensure all interested parties have their say.
The first meeting tomorrow will discuss proposals for four of the sites which have been identified. It will cover the site options for Hill Barton at Farringdon, Greendale Barton at Woodbury Salterton, Heathfield landfill near Kingsteignton, and an area of search for landfill in South Devon.
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Rob Harris, of Kingsteignton Residents Environmental Awareness Group, said he hoped to give an insight of what it is like to live near South Devon's Heathfield landfill site.
He said: "We accept that we have got a waste tip that has been here a long time and isn't going to be closed down, but the proposal in the strategy is to extend the height and width of the landfill. Residents were always under the impression that landfill activities would end in 2018, and these proposals to extend that have created general disquiet."
Woodbury Parish Councillor Ken Perry said the proposals for Greendale Barton in East Devon had also sparked concerns. He will argue that of the 40 search criteria, only one relates to the impact on people and their homes. "The rest relate to other elements of the environment. Of course we accept that's important, but we are concerned about whether enough weight has been given to individuals and their homes and their day-to-day lives."
Councillor Peter Bowden sits on both East Devon and Devon County Councils, and his district ward covers Hill Barton. He plans to attend the meeting to "ask questions and listen" to learn more. But he said he expected the issue to be controversial.
"In this part of the world, the whole idea that we could end up with piles of rubbish stacked up in the countryside is an anathema," he said. "It's a huge subject, and not one to be taken lightly."
The council has stressed that not all locations will necessarily feature in the final version of the plan, and that they are still open to new sites being suggested ahead of a consultation next year.
The other site options in the county, which are Roundswell near Barnstaple, Broadpath landfill site in Uffculme, Deep Moor landfill site near Great Torrington, and an area to the east of Tiverton, will be considered at a separate meeting arranged for October 24 at 10am.