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Stink over human poo recycling bid

PUBLISHED: 13:53 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:51 25 August 2010

HORROR: Vivien Amin and Colin Bloom are shocked by the proposed recycling’ plans.

HORROR: Vivien Amin and Colin Bloom are shocked by the proposed recycling' plans.

WATER bosses have been trying to woo residents round to the idea of a new human excrement recycling plant, the size of three football pitches, by likening the method to cooking cakes .

WATER bosses have been trying to woo residents round to the idea of a new human excrement recycling plant, the size of three football pitches, by likening the method to "cooking cakes".

Vivien Amin, 53, of Crossway, Thamesmead, reacted with horror when she read details of the plan on a flyer sent through her letterbox.

The stink concerns a proposal by Thames Water to expand recycling capacity at Crossness treatment plant in Thamesmead.

Residents have until tomorrow to have their say on the proposals, before planning permission is applied for.

Ms Amin said: "This is taking recycling too far. They use words like 'cooking' human excrement and 'cake' and 'digestion,' to describe the treatment process before it goes onto agricultural land. It's a complete nightmare.

"I went up to my local supermarket and asked one of the managers if they knew that human waste is used as fertiliser on crops but he didn't seem bothered.

"This should not be put on food that ends up on our plates.

"My main concern is the use of this sludge on farmland, how safe is it to use in the foodchain, will it make us more susceptible to disease?"

Thames Water bosses invited residents to an informal drop-in session at the Business Academy in Yarnton Way, Thamesmead, last Wednesday.

Ms Amin said: "They didn't seem concerned about the smell created by the plant. I was there for the entire time and 12 people turned up. Apparently 7,000 letters were sent out but I know some residents who didn't get one."

On Thames Waters news web page there is no reference to the proposals but there is a Crossness article on the reproduction of endangered water voles.

Conservative parliamentary candidate for Erith and Thamesmead, Colin Bloom, said: "In the summer time the smell is so bad you can barely breath. It's time to say, enough is enough and stop using this constituency as a dumping ground for the capital."

A Thames Water spokesperson said: "We believe that reusing sludge is the most sustainable outcome for the environment.

"Our work will have several benefits, including reducing odours from the site and lessening the number of lorries needed to transport sludge from Crossness. It will also create more renewable energy to help power the works."

Meanwhile, the nearby Belvedere incinerator, being built in Norman Road, is expected to burn its first rubbish in November, with an expected annual burn of 670,000 tonnes.

martin.sawden@archant.co.uk

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