States members overwhelmingly backed a move to cap new sewage plant tanks at Bellozanne to reduce the unwanted stink.
Deputy Andrew Lewis says residents and businesses in the First Tower area will no longer have to “suffer the pong” after he won an ongoing fight to reduce odours from the new £75million pound Bellozanne sewage treatment project.
The Department of Infrastructure wants to replace the Bellozanne facility as it is almost 60 years old and is at the end of its useful life. Despite starting work to make way for a new modern development – including the relocation of the household recycling centre at La Collette – the plans for the ‘New Sewage Treatment Works’ were rejected by the Planning Committee in the summer due to concerns on the amount of unpleasant smells people nearby will have to live with.
Groups including the ‘Bellozanne Action Group’ and the ‘First Tower Community Association’ requested the new primary settlement tanks to be covered – but this was brushed off by the Department of Infrastructure as “unnecessary” and an improper use of Public money as the lids are estimated to cost an extra £4.1million.
Pictured: Estimated odour footprint with lids fitted on the sewage tanks.
But in the States debate yesterday, St Helier Deputy Andrew Lewis - who has been involved in the ongoing ‘stink’ – won States members support for the primary settlement tanks (PST) to be covered.
Deputy Andrew Lewis’ asked the States to approve:
Making his argument, Deputy Lewis says independent expert reports proves that covering the PST’s could reduce the overall odour footprint by up to 50%, which will save around 313 homes from the unpleasant smell.
Some changes to Deputy Lewis’ proposition were put forward by the Infrastructure Minister, which included extending the odour investigation to the First Tower pumping station as it’s believed to contribute to the level of odour, and extra money on top of the £4.5million to fund the studies. Deputy Eddie Noel explained: “…it gives us the flexibility to tackle what we believe is the actual source of the odour as opposed to spend over £4million and the odour still be present.”
Pictured: Deputy Andrew Lewis got States backing for more funding, investigations and tank covers to reduce sewage odour in First Tower.
Addressing some of the concerns raised during the States debate, on the value of the extra money needed, and reasons why investigations haven’t taken place before, Deputy Lewis said: “For the first time ever, technology is now available to monitor the smell. (..) Up until recently, and members may laugh at this, the smell was detected and measured was by a ‘smeller’ having their nose collaborated and they would stand in a location and smell. I know that sounds remarkable but that’s how vast technology was, it’s now changed but we haven’t go the equipment in place yet, but the Minister wants to put it in place and this funding will help.”
“I hope members feel that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We are going to be blessed with a brand new sewage treatment works and I want the most state-of-the-art works we can possibly have. The Minister couldn’t quite do that with the budget he had before, hopefully he can take that little bit further now,” added Deputy Lewis.
The move was won by 36 votes – with only 1 abstention.
However, as the Department of Infrastructure are currently appealing the rejection of the new sewage treatment works planning application, the extra work and funding approved by the States will be subject to an Independent UK Planning Inspector’s assessment.
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