Every year 1.7 million tons of rubbish is handled in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

ADRIAN IMMS reports on the new sites being proposed to deal with shifting it all.

While councils have made giant leaps in recycling, compacting and burning waste the issue of how to treat it becomes more pressing every year.

A consultation has now been launched on how and where the rubbish we produce will be processed over the next 20 years and beyond.

The project – called the Waste and Minerals Sites Plan – aims to virtually eradicate landfill waste by 2026.

For residents, this potentially means a new compactor, crusher or sorting plant springing up on a plot of land near to them.

In Brighton and Hove alone, the earmarked sites are a coal yard in Sackville Road, the gas towers near Brighton Marina and the bin lorry depot next to the current Waste Transfer Station in Hollingdean.

Elsewhere, at Newhaven’s north quay nearly 18 hectares has been included in the consultation as well as land west of Uckfield which is about half the size of Regents Park in London.

Any sites eventually selected would see waste arriving, being processed and then taken away for re-use.

But the authorities say there is no need to panic.

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) has worked closely with East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) to establish the need for minerals and waste sites across the county.

The SDNPA’s main concern is making sure new major waste sites are away from sensitive areas. It is for this reason none are proposed for within the South Downs National Park.

A total of twenty sites have been chosen as options, with the authorities keen to stress that no decisions have been taken.

Furthermore, there are no cash figures for creating these sites.

Household waste, including recycling and food waste, accounts for 21% of the total, with another 27% from commercial and industrial sources while the majority, 51%, is the rubbish from demolition and construction work.

The figures are based on weight and this is why bricks and rubble come on top of the list.

These potential sites, set out on the map here, have not been identified for any specific waste use as such – the precise nature of the uses depends on future waste needs.

The new plans identify further potential recycling and recovery sites to meet the need for increased waste treatment capacity.

The last landfill site in East Sussex, at Pebsham, closed in November last year and only a relatively small amount of material is now sent to landfill sites out of the county.

The sites identified, none of which would be used for landfill, include specific waste sites and new development areas which could accommodate recycling and recovery facilities.

At a meeting on Tuesday, June 3, ESCC’s cabinet approved, subject to endorsement by BHCC and the SDNPA, publication of the draft plan for a nine-week consultation, which is currently underway.

An ESCC spokesman said: “This document is about future planning of where additional facilities could be located and just because a site is listed as being suitable for a recycling or recovery site doesn’t necessarily mean it will be used for that purpose.

“In East Sussex and Brighton and Hove, we have already made huge strides in encouraging more people to recycle, but to enable us to achieve the high targets we’ve set for ourselves, we need more recycling and recovery sites.

The three authorities have identified a gap for waste management facilities equivalent to about five major sites or 15 smaller sites.

Even if some sites, such as the land west of Uckfield at 81 hectares, have vast land areas, this doesn’t mean all of it will be used.

A major site would be something like the Hollingdean site, which sorts a lot of Brighton and Hove’s waste.

Geoff Raw, Brighton and Hove City Council executive director for environment, development and housing, said: “Waste management is an area where technology is improving all the time and where waste facilities are required this is helping to hugely reduce the impact on sites and surrounding areas.

“In Brighton and Hove, three of these – Hangleton Bottom, Sackville Coal Yard and Hollingdean industrial estate – are already allocated for waste management use in the 2006 Waste Local Plan.

“The fourth, the former gasworks on Roedean Road, has been included because it is on an industrial site.”

Councillor Lizzie Deane, deputy chair of Brighton and Hove’s environment committee, said: “We have made great progress in reducing the amount of household waste sent to landfill and are committed to supporting both residents and businesses to recycle more and reduce the waste produced. However we still need to plan for the new facilities needed to achieve high recycling and recovery targets and virtually eliminate landfill for both household and commercial waste.”

The consultation process on these potential sites runs until September 5.

Waste not, want not

THE long-term aim for local authorities is to reduce the amount that people throw away.

Brighton and Hove residents throw away 39,000 tons of food every year – about 260kg per household.

According to the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, about a third of commercial waste from restaurants derives from customer food orders.

With this factored in, the public throws away more than 50% of our food waste.

Vic Borrill, the director of the food partnership, said: “We believe that waste policies should start with preventing and reusing, before moving to ways to process waste.

“We know most people waste more food than they think and could save an average of £50 per month if they didn’t throw away food that could have been eaten.

Mrs Borrill added: “With that price tag, prevention is definitely better than disposal.

“If you want to reduce your waste we suggest you plan your shop, make sure to store food properly, use appropriate portions, love those leftovers with our recipes and tips and compost your peelings.” The partnership says the two main reasons why people throw away good food are because they cook too much or do not use it in time.

The sessions

The following public consultation sessions will take place: Bartholomew House Customer Service Centre, Bartholomew Square, Brighton, Monday, August 11, 10am to 1pm Hastings Borough Council Community Contact Centre, Town Hall, Hastings, Tuesday, August 12, 9.30am to 12.30pm Bexhill Library, Western Road, Bexhill, Tuesday, August 12, 2pm to 5pm Lewes District Council Offices, 20 Fort Road, Newhaven, Thursday, August 14, 9.30am-12.30pm Wealden District Council Offices, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham, Friday, August 15, 10am-1pm.

The opposition

DESPITE strong for recycling history tells us controversy is never far from such new developments.

In February 2009, Brighton and Hove City Council opened a waste transfer station in Hollingdean, Brighton, costing £13 million.

The site was a disused collection of industrial units neighbouring the authority’s bin lorry depot.

Concerns were raised over access and noise.

Campaign group Dump the Dump, together with parents of children from local schools, believed the area would suffer pollution and noise as a result of the development.

More recently, a rubbish incinerator near Newhaven opened in the summer of 2012.

At the time, Paul-John Harris of Newhaven wrote to The Argus to say: “Not only is it ugly, looking like a giant glass mushroom, it has two large chimneystacks reaching into the sky, belching out smoke 24-7.

“It is polluting the environment and stinks of rotting garbage.”

Others commented on the increased lorry traffic in the lead-up to its opening.

Extension of existing sites

As it says, this is where an existing plant has a vacant site next to it capable, in principle, of also supporting waste treatment. Again, there would be issues to consider at the planning stage.

Cophall Wood Waste Transfer Station (land north of), A22, Polegate = E/A on map Woodside Depot, A22, Polegate = E/B on map

Areas for mixed use

These are areas proposed by a borough or district council for mixed use development as part of the expansion of an urban area. These will be dependent on when the expansion is brought forward and on the phasing of housing and employment.

Burgess Road, Hastings = S/A on map Ivyhouse Lane Extension, Hastings = S/B on map Sidley (land north of), Bexhill = S/C on map West Uckfield (land at), Uckfield = S/D on map Whitworth Road, Hastings = S/E on map