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First steam seen coming from controversial Shrewsbury incinerator

The first plumes of steam have been seen emanating from a controversial incinerator built to serve Shropshire

Bosses of the incinerator say testing has started on the facility.

More than 5,000 homes were leafleted back in November ahead of plans to start running tests at Shrewsbury’s multi-million pound waste incinerator.

People living close to the site, on the Battlefield Enterprise Park, have been warned to expect more activity, including noise and steam, in the coming weeks.

The tests will run through to early January, with the waste incinerator – known as an energy recovery facility (EFR) – expected to become fully operational later this year.

Steve Mitchell, general manager for site owners Veolia, said: “We’re going to be cleaning tubes and that will make steam plumes from various parts of the plant but when it’s fully up and running there will be relatively little to see.

“We will be drying out the boiler using fuel oil and this will create steam.

“We will also be steam-blowing and noise from the site will be higher than normal.

“People will see a steam plume from the chimney and vents on the roof and waste delivery vehicles will begin to be routed onto the ERF site.”

In 2007, Veolia won the 27-year contract worth £850 million from the Shropshire Waste Partnership, which is now part of Shropshire Council. And after a long battle the controversial incinerator is almost ready.

There has been plenty of opposition to the plant, with concerns ranging from its large appearance to possible health issues from gas released.

Mr Mitchell has insisted there was no need to worry about health and said that the size of the building could not be helped – saying he was “completely at ease” with the incinerator saying he would not work in one if he thought it was harmful to his health.

The leaflet handed out to residents said the steam-blowing process could be noisy but would take place only between 7.30am and 7.30pm from Monday to Friday.

“To minimise any nuisance to our neighbours a temporary silencer will be positioned between the turbine and the boiler building,” said the leaflet.

Shropshire Council initially refused planning permission for the site and Veolia appealed.

As a result, Shropshire Council is still paying Veolia’s £825,000 legal bill, which a court agreed could be covered by instalments of £40,000 a year.

While testing is due to start shortly there is no firm timescale for the plant to be open and fully operational, but there is a rough timescale of summer 2015.

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