COUNTY Hall has been challenged to reject plans for a £50m waste plant “if it’s serious about climate change”.

Plans for the incinerator plant in Pitsea could be big enough to divert 150,000 tonnes of waste every year from landfill, creating enough electricity to power 20,000 homes

But according to Zero Waste Europe, an EU-funded environmental organisation based in Brussels, the development - planned by Clearaway - could generate more than 250,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.

The plan, for the Burnt Mills Industrial Estate, comes as rubbish from across south Essex is sent to landfill sites following the failure of the Tovi Eco Park in Basildon last year.

The waste at the new plant in Pitsea would be used to generate up to 11mw of electricity.

The firm has previously said it would create ten full-time permanent jobs, as well as more opportunities during construction.

Read more >>> Threat of £50million waste plant in Pitsea looming large despite opposition

But Independent ward councillor Kerry Smith suggested at a meeting of the county council that the plans do not fit with the local authority’s pledges on climate change.

He said: “The Pitsea incinerator is being proposed and yes, a decision has not yet been made and yes it is quasi-judicial and I am not asking for an opinion.

“But using the website Zero Euro Waste and looking at the planning application submitted it calculates it is going to generate 255,000 tonnes of CO2.

“If you are a true believer of man-made climate change you’d be dead against an incinerator.

“I hope that when the application is put to the relevant committee at Essex County Council, the leader and his team attend and object.”

Earlier in the meeting of the council, the new Conservative leader of Essex County Council, Kevin Bentley, said the council was committed to delivering its climate change commitments.

He said: “We said in the 100-day plan that we must focus on our infrastructure, and this strategy does that, setting out our plan to invest £1 billion into the fabric of Essex over the next four years.

“While we do all that, we must also continue to pursue investment and green growth.

“We are refusing the false and unsustainable choice between economic growth and action on climate change.

“We choose both. In fact we placed action on climate change at the heart of our 100-day plan.

“We are committed to hitting our net zero targets as an organisation and working with communities and businesses to enable them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Bosses behind the plan said in the past that the new plant, close to Clearaway Group’s existing recycling facility, will help to tackle two problems facing society – how to sustainably manage the waste we produce, and how to create secure, low carbon sources of energy.