CLAIMS that Brighton’s recycling plant is overwhelmed have been dismissed as “completely untrue”.

A city council binman-turned-whistleblower told the Argus this week that Veolia – the firm that processes the city’s waste – had been sending eight tonnes of recycling a day to the incinerator at Newhaven.

Dustbin lorry driver Ken Quantick, 71, claimed this was because the company was overwhelmed by the amount of material being brought into its plant at Hollingdean.

Veolia accepted that some recycling was being burned, but only because it was contaminated with non recyclable materials.

Now Brighton and Hove City Council has issued a statement flatly denying that Veolia cannot cope.

It said: “We know there is an issue concerning contamination at the Veolia site. We have launched an investigation and are speaking to Veolia and our own staff about the situation.

“However, claims that Veolia is burning recycling because the plant is overwhelmed are completely untrue.

“Only loads brought in by drivers that are contaminated are turned away, which is what’s happened in this case.

“This is to ensure the rest of the city’s recycling does not also become contaminated.

“Contaminated material cannot be recycled and is burned to help create energy to power 25,000 homes rather than be taken to landfill.”

Veolia and the council have said the contamination is isolated to Mr Quantick’s round, known as round nine, which covers a large patch between Lewes Road and Asda in Hollingbury.

A council spokesman added: “It is the responsibility of the drivers to try as best they can to ensure the material they bring to the plant is not contaminated.

“While we are investigating this isolated issue, all of our other drivers are continuing to deliver their recycling to the plant as normal.”

Mr Quantick previously explained that his round included some streets with very steep banks between the road and the houses.

In these areas, black plastic bin bags were used to help transport the recycling down to the lorries, he said.

The council’s contract with Veolia allows for ten per cent of recycling to be contaminated.

Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas said it was “absolutely outrageous” that Veolia was burning waste the public had made an effort to recycle.

“It risks hugely undermining public confidence and deterring people from recycling at exactly the time we need to be encouraging it,” she said.