Rock Common

It says something about the determination of local people when they brave the elements to protest about the future of their village.

As I arrived in Chichester on Tuesday morning a large crowd had assembled in the rain outside County Hall to make their views known about plans for a new landfill site at Rock Common, Washington.

It was a peaceful protest, but the campaigners were justifiably angry.  For two years they have waited for Veolia to resubmit its plans to dump 5.5 million tonnes of rubbish near their village over the next 25 years.

We all knew only too well what this proposal would mean for the local community.  A few miles down the road, residents living near the Horton Landfill Site at Small Dole have been putting up with the smell, flies, litter, noise and pollution for many years, with the constant disruption of huge lorries travelling to and from the site.

I was pleased to have the opportunity to address the Planning Committee to make these points, and I'm delighted that they unanimously rejected Veolia's application.

The Chanctonbury Landfill Action Group (CLAG), skilfully led by their Chairman John Auckland, have done a great job to resist these proposals. 

We've won an important battle, but not the war.  Horton's tip was recently extended.  And the next worry will be at Thakeham, where proposals to dump 4.7 million tonnes of rubbish at Laybrook Brickworks have been drawn up by Cory Environmental.

This could be a tougher battle, because Laybrook is a clay pit and it's already in the County Council's Waste Local Plan.  But I will give my strongest backing to the Thakeham community.

The methane produced by landfill is 23 times more damaging in terms of global warming than carbon dioxide.

There are better ways to deal with our waste, which should be recycled for materials or converted to energy.  Landfill should be the last resort.

Michelle Taylor