Stalinist propaganda or genuine support for incinerator?

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MORE than 60 per cent of people in Aylesbury Vale support building an incinerator at Calvert, according to a survey commissioned by the company behind the scheme.

However, WRG’s poll has been rubbished as ‘Stalinist propaganda’ by campaigners against the proposal.

The survey comes less than a fortnight before Bucks County Council will decide on the planning application for the ‘energy from waste’ plant at Greatmoor Farm on April 17.

A thousand people in Bucks were surveyed by independent pollsters ICM, of which 250 lived in the Vale.

It found that 62 per cent of people in the district were for the plant, with only 23 per cent against.

But campaigner Christopher Prideaux dismissed the survey as ‘Stalinist propaganda’.

He said: “It is totally misleading. The survey does not reflect the full picture, there are a very large number of parishes affected where everybody would be unhappy about this proposal.”

Fellow campaigner Maggi Campbell Keith added: “I live 500 metres from where this incinerator is going to be erected. Why haven’t they asked the people most likely to be affected by this?”

The research also found strong support for ‘community buy-in’ in which affected villages get some form of ‘compensation’ for having the plant built nearby.

The most popular idea was people getting reduced council tax (61 per cent), followed by energy bill discounts (57 per cent) and new facilities for nearby schools (25 per cent).

Additionally, 66 per cent of people living in Bucks thought it was unacceptable to keep sending waste to landfill sites.

And the poll found that most Bucks residents are already doing their bit to recycle more.

More than three quarters (77 per cent) of households say they go to some effort to minimise the amount of waste they produce.

This comprises almost one in four (23 per cent) who say they put in ‘a great deal’ of effort and over half (54 per cent) who put in ‘a fair amount’.

It also found that tackling bad smells coming from the plant should be the top priority, followed by supplying energy to the local community. The plant’s visual impact was only a ‘moderate’ priority.

WRG bid director Dan Murphy said: “We have worked very closely with local communities across Buckinghamshire in the last year but we are aware that many residents have not expressed their views.

“This research, which has been designed to provide a representative cross-section of views from across the county, ensures that we have a fully representative picture about what residents think in addition to the views of those who have engaged with us to date.”

“The findings show clearly that residents across the county, whilst doing their bit by recycling what they can and reducing waste where possible, recognise there is still a need to improve how we manage residual waste that currently goes to landfill.

“Our solution allows value to be derived from residual waste by generating energy as well as providing long term local jobs and real economic benefit.”