MAJOR plans for a £50million waste incinerator including two chimneys the height of 15-storey buildings have been put on hold after furious councillors raised serious concerns.

Clearaway Recycling’s bid to build a waste incinerator at Pitsea’s Burnt Mills Industrial Estate was set to get the green light on Friday, but councillors fiercely opposed the plan at a meeting.

Basildon councillors Kerry Smith and Craig Rimmer both spoke at the Essex County Council meeting raising concerns over the potential impact on the health of residents living nearby.

A series of concerns were also raised around the effectiveness of the three-year public consultation which officially ended earlier this month.

The “energy recovery facility” would process 150,000 tonnes of landfill waste a year from across Essex and include two huge chimneys – equivalent to the height of 15-storey buildings.

Councillors also highlighted the huge fire at Clearaway’s neighbouring recycling centre earlier this month – which saw 250 tonnes of material and plant machinery go up in flame – as another reason for the plan to be rejected.

Basildon Council cabinet member for economic stimulus and tourism, Mr Rimmer, said: “We are creating a hungry beast, that cannot be shut down.

“Trucks will be having to move materials to feed the incinerator through the day and night 24/7. A fire has happened in the area run by the same company, and we haven’t had an investigation.

“What do we do if there is an accident in that area?”

Basildon Nethermayne independent councillor, Kerry Smith, presented a petition signed by 2,500 people.

He said: “Incinerators are toxic, they can say they have wonderful filters but what assurances do we have?”

Basildon councillor Jeff Henry, who is part of the development and regulation committee at Essex County Council which was making the decision, said: “I don’t think they’ve done the work, I think this committee needs to see this site.

“Residents don’t want it and the idea I can see stacks from Northlands Park is just obscene, we need to do do better to make an informed choice.”

Clearaway, represented by Kevin Parr, argued that the effect on health would be minimal and the plans would not impact residents.

The development and regulation committee voted five to two in favour of deferring the decision.

The committee cited the need to review the impact of the stack in the area, the impact of emissions on residential properties and the consultation carried out. No new date was set to debate the plan.