THE fire at the BCB waste incinerator at Tockwith comes as York and North Yorkshire councillors are poised to sign off on a £900 million waste facility (The Press, August 12).

While the council may prefer to focus on the proposed digester and MBT (recycling reclamation) plant, the incinerator is at the heart of this plan.

The council and waste industry magnates all assure us modern incinerators are unlike the terrible burners of the 1970s and 1980s. You might be inclined to accept their evidence showing that under normal conditions, emissions do seem to be quite low. Then Tockwith happens.

The Tockwith fire is not an isolated example. In August, 2003 the old Crymlyn Burrows incinerator burned for four days. It caught fire again in February this year – after the council had to take it over when the operator went bankrupt.

The Sita site in Teesside caught fire in August, 2009. Edmonton’s incinerator did the same in November 2008, and the Byker incinerator in Newcastle managed it in May, 2001.

The Kirklees incinerator exploded and leaked poisonous gas in September, 2006. Dundee’s incinerator caught fire in September 1999. It did it again in January 2002. The council has had to buy the plant and pay off its losses to keep it running.

Couldn’t happen here, could it?

Richard Lane, Wellington Street, York.