Environment Agency study published this week finds levels of particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide to be within limits at site of waste incinerator
A waste incinerator in East Sussex is meeting air quality objectives for several pollutants, according to an Environment Agency report.
The report, ‘Study of Ambient Air Quality in Newhaven 2013’, was published this week (October 28) and assesses the potential impact of waste firm Veolia Environmental Services’ waste plant on air quality in the area.
The air quality monitoring centred around the Newhaven Energy Recovery Facility, operated by Veolia under a 30-year contract with East Sussex county council and Brighton & Hove city council.
The facility processes around 210,000 tonnes of waste per year collected by the councils from households in the county, which is converted into energy for the National Grid – enough to supply 25,000 homes.
The Newhaven incinerator officially opened in July 2012, despite some opposition from local residents about the potential negative impact on the landscape and air quality. Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes boycotted the opening at the time in protest at the facility.
Protest groups such as Defenders of the Ouse Valley and Estuary (DOVE) as well as Friends of the Earth also opposed the plant – with the latter mounting a failed legal attempt for a formal Judicial Review of the project in 2008.
However, the Agency study this week concluded that levels of pollutants including particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide and benzene were likely to meet their respective UK objectives in the area.
The national objective for nitrogen dioxide is 40mg3 (micrograms per cubic metre), but the Agency team found measurements at Newhaven to be 16.9mg3.
Meanwhile, PM10 was measured at 22.1mg3 and PM2.5 at 15.2mg3 in Newhaven. The national objectives or both pollutants is 40mg3 and 25mg3 per cubic metre.
And, sulphur dioxide levels were also found to be well within limits at the site, with measurements of 1.94mg3 against the national objective of 20mg3.
Monitoring was carried out by the Agency’s Ambient Air Monitoring Team between August 23 and March 13 2012 (203 days) and the results are compared to UK air quality objectives where applicable.