Blacktown Council votes to reject Eastern Creek incinerator

UNDER FIRE: Blacktown Council have voted to reject a proposal to build an energy from waste plant at Eastern Creek. Picture: Supplied
UNDER FIRE: Blacktown Council have voted to reject a proposal to build an energy from waste plant at Eastern Creek. Picture: Supplied

Blacktown Council has backed the community and voted against a proposal to build an energy from waste plant at Eastern Creek.

At an extraordinary meeting held on Wednesday night, councillors unanimously opposed the proposal citing health concerns and a “flawed” environmental impact statement (EIS) put forward by proponents The Next Generation (TNG).

“We call upon the Health Department, all doctors, all health care companies, as well as the residents of western Sydney to voice their opinion about the project,” mayor Stephen Bali said.

“This is their second go, and the company wanting to burn more than a million tonnes of garbage a year still hasn’t come up with a plan that provides maximum protection for the millions of people living around it.”

Cr Bali said the EIS was more like a “project justification statement”.

Despite its position being clear, any decision on whether the project will proceed is out of the council’s hands.

The council will table a 95-page submission to the Department of Planning and Environment, which has the final say on the proposal.

“The proposal to place one of the world’s largest waste incinerators in the middle of a highly populated area makes no sense,” Cr Bali said.

“TNG plans to generate electricity by burning some 1.105 million tonnes of waste a year.”

RALLY: Residents protested against the proposal at a rally on Honeycombe Drive in December. Picture: Isabella Lettini

RALLY: Residents protested against the proposal at a rally on Honeycombe Drive in December. Picture: Isabella Lettini

At the meeting councillor Brad Bunting said TNG “don’t understand western Sydney.”

TNG’s report stated a cooling system at the plant would turn off when the ambient temperature exceeded 37 degrees, forcing the facility to shut down. 

”Those of us who live here know the temperature regularly rises above 37 degrees in summer,” Cr Bunting said.

Councillor Peter Camillieri said the EIS didn’t justify a need for the plant, while deputy mayor Tony Bleasedale said the state government had “no option” but to block the proposal.

Peter Kerr, a Mount Druitt resident of 30 years, spoke at the meeting and said he was “totally against” the project.

“When the southerly wind blows all of the emissions would go all over Minchinbury and Mount Druitt,” he said.

“I don’t want to breathe it all in.”

The energy from waste plant is proposed to be constructed on Honeycombe Drive and would burn non-recyclable rubbish to generate electricity.

It remains unclear exactly what materials would make up the estimated 1.105 million tonnes of waste to be burnt per year.

TNG representatives told a community forum this month that items would include construction by-products such as timber, concrete and plastics.

Submissions on the proposal close on March 1 and can be made at www.planning.nsw.gov.au. Alternatively, have your say at the council website.