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TV legend Johnny Ball: 'Incinerators are wonderful'

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 10, 2012


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TV legend Johnny Ball has waded into the incinerator row, saying waste burners are 'wonderful'.

He is backing plans to build a £500million energy-from-waste plant at Javelin Park, near Haresfield. He is so keen on them, he has requested one be built near his own home in Buckinghamshire.

The TV maths genius, whose daughter is BBC Radio 2 DJ Zoë Ball, said: "They are so healthy and clean that they are wonderful. We get all this energy from burning our waste.

"The campaigners have got nothing to worry about, nothing at all.

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"I know the area where they want to put the incinerator well and it seems like a very likely place for it to go because it is already besmirched by the motorway."

Asked what he thinks about campaign groups who are opposed to the incinerator, he said: "These people are really fanatical and there's no recourse for going around scaring people."

Mr Ball, who has just starred on Strictly Come Dancing, is outspoken on energy and waste issues but his latest remarks are set to ignite the debate over Gloucestershire County Council's plans for a burner even further.

The 74-year-old, who lives in Farnham Common, Bucks, said: "I have a sprawling landfill site two miles from my home and I asked the council to build an incinerator instead.

"Almost every European country, with the exception of the UK, have long since realised that one good way to cut down the burning of fossil fuels is to burn waste instead. Waste is free in that we have to collect it anyway."

Campaigners from groups such as Glosvain fear particles released for the burner will cause acid rain, reduce life expectancies and cause baby defects.

Urbaser Balfour Beatty, the firm who would build and run the burner for 25 years, say that the incinerator is safe and meets all health standards.

Mr Ball, who confirmed he has not been paid by UBB to make his comments, quipped: "Arsenic is very dangerous but if you keep it in a bottle then it can't harm you. We have got to get this argument in proportion."

A contract has been signed to build the burner but planning permission is still being sought.

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  • Alan1  |  November 28 2012, 9:44AM

    Most incinerator companies in the UK are American owned. The USA has not allowed any incinerators to be built since 1994. Most of Europe now uses 24 hour air monitoring systems and this is the reason no more incinerators are being built. If there is no risk to health why is the government in the process of studying birth defects so no smoke without fire? There is now a glut of flue ash that is carcinogenic and has to be sent to secure landfill sites. No customers for bottom ash as it is toxic and contractors do not like using it. Google jersey in peril 2012 concerning ash. Also 2008 a liner was ruptured and polluted the coastline. Incineration is Stone Age technology now that many state of the art recycling treatment plants has been running for years.

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  • akeeper  |  November 26 2012, 9:28PM

    Dear Johnny, I live opposite the site I tell you what lets house swap and you can have this at the end of YOUR garden.Try sticking to your ridiculous ad for Gas Boilers that pay for themselves.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 11 2012, 7:22PM

    darrellglos - absolutely - I don't want an incinerator, or any other forms of development near where I live. I want to breathe fresh air - so ban all wood burners, household gas and oil boilers, large and small power stations, cars, buses, heavy lorries that belch out particulates and ammonia, livestock that give out carbon dioxide, and methane, ban all those polluting Jumbo-jets, food imports from outside the county, no plastic packaging. Oh yes - do we really need that many people in the U.K, and the rest of the world consuming all the scarce resources, water, and energy, producing all the garbage, and polluting our land, water and air?

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  • darrellglos  |  November 11 2012, 6:52PM

    If nobody wants to use a incinerator to get rid of our waste please you could you come up with another idea with what we do with it? After all we cannot keep dumping it all at Hempstead.

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  • Lord_Gaga_  |  November 11 2012, 3:24PM

    i only said b u g g er

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  • Lord_Gaga_  |  November 11 2012, 3:23PM

    silly old ******

  • jpatstarsmead  |  November 11 2012, 3:08PM

    UBB and GCC must indeed be desperate if they have to wheel out a passed-over TV presenter like Johnny Ball (nice man though he probably is) and drag him onto the stage to sing the praises of a toxic gas production system which he clearly doesn't understand. Perhaps, if the Prince of Wales were asked his opinion on the "carbuncle-factor" of this enormous pollution plant at Javelin Park, we might get a bit more attention in the national press for this outrageous misappropriation of public funds by one power-crazed and time expired old engineer (Stan Waddington). I wonder if anyone has explained to Johnny Ball just how far GCC have gone beyond what is right, proper and democratically acceptable to frustrate attempts by the people of Gloucestershire to have their objections given a real hearing ! Johnny Ball may not have been paid to make this statement, but why has he bothered to speak up about something so far removed from his own back yard. There has to be a reason... and I for one smell a rat !!! I suppose when a £500 million contract is at stake, a whole range of people are likely to be encouraged to join in the discussion, even though they have no direct involvement in the issue!

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  • zerowaster  |  November 10 2012, 4:49PM

    Is there so little support for this incinerator from people here in Gloucestershire that they have to go to Buckinghamshire to find an old 'star' to support this project? Have to go to the same Buckinghamshire where a certain Chris Kenneford used to work, the person who has unexpectedly been brought in at the last minute to replace a much respected Senior Planning Officer who was dealing with the Javelin Park application? The same Buckinghamshire that consultants, brought in by Mr Kenneford, are also connected with? So who's been calling in favours in order to get the discredited Javelin Park project through here in Gloucestershire? This 'famous' individual does not represent the views of others in Buckinghamshire. The District Council where their incinerator is being built and 30 parish councils are against it. And what the Citizen consistently fails to address is that the Business Case for this incinerator has collapsed. Evidence proves that the need for this incinerator is not there, that alternative cutting-edge technologies would deal with waste more effectively, more safely and in ways better for the environment and would be between £100 - £150m cheaper than this incinerator. Let's have some real arguments and real facts reported, and not the uninformed opinions of an old man who doesn't even live here anyway.

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  • Future2010  |  November 10 2012, 3:30PM

    GCC and Urbaser Balfour Beatty must be getting desperate - apparently he doesn't even live in Gloucestershire. Is the rumour that he was once in the same school as Cllr. Waddington correct? Fact: the incinerator would produce acid rain, known to be connected to health and environmental problems. Fact: Neither UBB nor GCC can produce scientific evidence to prove that emissions are safe. Ask them for proof. Fact: The Health Protection Agency has commissioned research into incineration and health impacts (to be ready in 2014). Would they be doing this if incineration was already proven to be safe?

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 10 2012, 2:24PM

    Eminently sensible.