ns-lafarge-brookfield

Brookfield residents who fought the plan are celebrating the government's decision. ((CBC file))

A plan to burnscrap tires at aNova Scotia cementfacility is going up in smoke.

Environment Minister Mark Parent said Monday the province would not give Lafarge Canada permission to burn tires at its plant in Brookfield, near Truro.

"We won't be looking at tire-derived fuel any time in the near future," he told reporters.

Themove is a response toanadvisory committee'srecommendation thatprovince steer away from incinerating scrap tires and look to recycling them instead.

"The report suggested that there are too many variables, too many unknowns about the emissions and about the technology that would be used, that they couldn't get answers for that," Parent said.

"But if the technology allowed it to be done in a way that is safe to people, I wouldn't want to close the door on it."

The provincial agency responsible for recycling, the Resource Recovery Fund Board, hadmade a deal withLafarge to burn more than half of the 900,000old tires generated every year in Nova Scotia. The tires were to be incinerated atthe company'sBrookfield plant

Thefive-year deal called for the other 40 per cent of the tires to be sent to a Lafarge kiln in Quebec.

Even withthe RRFB agreement,Lafarge still neededapproval from the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour to proceed withits plan.

Chris Richards, environmental manager ofthe Brookfield plant, saidthe companyis disappointed with the government's decision and continues to believe in the tire-burning process.

Lydia Sorflaten and other residentshad fought the plan, arguing that emissions would be harmful to their health and the environment.

"We're pleased that the Nova Scotiagovernment has decided not to incinerate tires in Nova Scotia," she said."Wefeel that we've been heard as citizens."

Sorflaten doesn't wantto see tires from Nova Scotia incinerated anywhere.

Butthe provincewill continue to shipold tires toQuebec to be burned or recycled until a long-term plan is worked out.

"We will be meeting with the Department of Environment and developing a long-term strategy for the management of scrapped tires,"saidRRFB chief executive officer Bill Ring.

Ring said there was no provincial policy on burning tires when the board awardedthe contract to Lafarge.

Opposition politicians say the government is finally moving in the right direction,and they want the minister to overhaul the RRFB.

"If they got us into this mess in the first place it's hard to see how, without any changes, they're going to get us out of it," said New Democrat Graham Steele.

"Time for a change," said Liberal Keith Colwell.