A couple of weeks ago on the night of Full Council there was a public meeting in Quedgely on the County's waste proposals - see Citizen report left - Sarah Lunnon was one of the Greens who went to ensure Green voices were heard....
The audience apparently included a mixture of residents some of whom didn’t care how waste was dealt with as long as there wasn’t an incinerator in their parish and individuals who had travelled and wanted to have an imput into how waste was dealt with.
The two labour MP’s and the Parliamentary candidate for the Tory’s did a lot of ‘incineration over my dead body’ but failed to put forward any other way of dealing with residual waste - of course lots of emphasis on re-cycling was mentioned and the Stanley waste trial was also name-checked a couple of times.
Cllr Stan Waddington, the County Council Cabinet member who actually has to put a system in place, was in the hot seat. He repeatedly tried to reassure that the OBC did not mean that there would be an incinerator at Javelin Park -and apparently repeatedly does mean repeatedly! No one seemed to believe him. However it is true. The problem is that because an incinerator has been highlighted in the Business case and the Government makes such a choice easier, the alternatives are hard to get a look in....
The Green party locally have spelled out the reasons why a monster incinerator is not the answer on many occasions - we've also put forward an alternative plan - see a brief summary here.
Interestingly a piece of info that I sent to the County just after the meeting was news that DEFRA have just released the fully audited waste tonnages for England 2007/8. To me the 2.2% fall in waste is very significant. It also makes national average waste MSW growth negative for the last 2,3,4,5 & 6 years. You need to take the full 7 years changes to get a positive waste growth and that is only 1.76% over 7 years or 0.25% per year.
You can get all the spreadsheets at:-
regional totals at:-
and full tables by council at:-
The most remarkable number is the kg of household waste per head. It is down below 500Kg for the first time since 1998/9 i.e. it is at a 10 year low.
In Wolverhampton there was recent coverage showing that the amount of waste now being collected separately has led to a huge reduction in the volume of rubbish needing to be burned. The cut means the incinerator in the city centre, now has 30,000 tons of spare capacity that threatens to cost waste chiefs £2.25 million. All this is yet further evidence that to tie ourselves into a 25 year or more contract to a monster incinerator would be foolish - we cannot guess the future waste streams but with smaller flexible plants (that also have fewer CO2 emissions) we have the chance to close one or more if waste streams drop off - it would also mean less heavy lorry movements across the county to feed an incinerator.
Anyhow I wont go into all those arguments again - but will note that the current economic downturn is having a significant impact on markets for recycling materials - basically they are collapsing - the Local Government Government Ass0ciation is rightly concerned that this could lead to some authorities reducing recycling and have urged them to continue - council tax payers risk fines of £3bn as I've noted before if the amount of waste thrown into landfill is not reduced.
In my view we need the Government - indeed have needed for a long time the Government to take a lead on this - we remain the 'dirty man of Europe' with more going to landfill than anyone else. It is vital markets for recycled goods are supported more - many others are doing much more - Germany for example put a tax on packaging that led to a significant fall in it's use...again this is a discussion I've had here on this blog before.....
Update: Rereading this blog I see the link to Glos Green party comment on the PFI bid re waste has been lost - editing too quick - I am sorry - here it is now here.