12 Feb 2009

We say no to a large scale incinerator in Gloucestershire

Few support the monster incinerator that could go in at Javelin Park near Stonehouse - just over the hill from us - this blog has covered many of the arguments before so I wont go there again but instead appeal for help with the petition that has been launched against the incinerator. Could you put it in your shop or business? Or collect signatures from friends or colleagues?

Photo: 'Incinerators Kill' - well I'm not convinced that this is as true as it was - latest incinerators are apparently significantly improved in terms of toxic emissions - however there are many, many reasons as to why they should not go-ahead

The petition is organised by Gloucestershire Friends of the Earth Network in consultation with others including me - it is vital we let the County know we don't want this beast - there are plenty of more sustainable options. Please download blank copies from www.glosfoe.org.uk

Petition by residents and visitors of Gloucestershire

We the undersigned request the Gloucestershire County Council, the District Councils of Gloucestershire and the Government not to accept a large scale incinerator as the solution for dealing with residual waste in Gloucestershire because:

• Tackling climate change is a priority and better technologies are available

• It produces toxic fly ash

• It reduces the incentive to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost thus wasting resources

• It could be a high risk, long term, contractual expense for the local taxpayer

• If needed, residual waste should be treated under short term contracts by small local facilities

See Glos Green party policy here.


Simon said...

Wouldn't an online petition be more convenient?

Philip Booth said...

I totally agree - they are hoping to set one up.

Joe said...

Who are 'they', though? 'Gloucestershire Friends of the Earth Network' have proved very resistant to engaging in a sensible discussion (heck, even I'm starting to get sick of that phrase, and I'm pretty much the person who coined it) about the incinerator. On at least two significant occasions, they have allowed themselves to be co-opted by the Gloucester Labour Party for party political purposes.

I'm afraid I'm having nothing to do with the petition for that reason. Even if it was launched, and signed by people with the best of intentions, it would be used by Dhanda, Purchase, etc. as political ammunition to use against a Tory party they look like losing to big time, next elections.

I should like to see some of the lies and half truths perpetrated by local Labour politicians being tackled before they are accepted as genuine opponents of incineration on environmental grounds. Specifically, the claim by the Cheltenham mouthpiece Brian Hughes that the government are against incineration. If this were the case, that government would surely not be offering some £90 million for a waste management scheme which includes the option of incineration. They could also come clean about the Environment Agency's views on incineration.If the EA doesn't oppose it, can opponents really cry wolf about health risks?

That's just two question for Mary Newton to be going on with, if she doesn't want to look like a Labour stooge.

Philip Booth said...

Thanks Joe for your comment and I agree all opponents could do better at putting forward the alternatives to an incinerator. There are various technologies as I am sure you are aware - you will see FoE have added to their website briefings on the alternatives:

Having said that it has been difficult to engage the press on looking at the alternatives - indeed many including councillors are not well briefed on the different types of solutions - this needs to change.

I also agree that the debate has become politicised in a very unhealthy way - my conversations and emails with Conservatives indicates they are trying to look at all solutions - I believe them - however the route they are going down is leading us closer to an incinerator. There is much more they could be doing if they are to find the most sustainable longterm solutions for waste in Gloucestershire.

As for the Government I have no idea what Brian Hughes is saying - they have consistently made it easier to go for the incinerator option - as Ken Livingstone said the Government is being too cosy with incinerator operators at the expense of finding the best solutions for treating our waste.

Health risks are a tricky one - the evidence from companies and research on the latest incinerators indicates the risks are very small in terms of emissions - however there are plenty of reasons why we should never go down the monster incinerator route without even having to discuss health risks.

I have signed the petition and will encourage others to do likewise as I hope it will strengthen the hand of those in GCC to push for alternatives.

I hope that we can do better at working together to oppose any monster incinerator. I will forward the comment to Mary so that she can also respond if she wishes.

See local Green party position here:

Anonymous said...

No incinerators please - I've downloaded a petition and will see if II can get my neighbours to sign

Joe said...

Lancashire county coucil are apparently implementing a scheme which economically viable and environmentally friendly. I asked my wife to post it on the 'No Incinerator In Gloucester' Facebook site, since the creator banned me for questioning his masters' motives:


If someone looks at it, and likes it, and doesn't get upset because their fox has been shot, they might put it to the council...

Joe said...

Darn, I really should preview my comments for typos and missed words...

Richard said...

Responding to Joe's earlier comment, I chair the public Gloucestershire Friends of the Earth (FoE) network meetings and am surprised you feel we're not open to discussion. My contacts are on the website www.glosfoe.org.uk and I'm happy to discuss incinerator and waste issues.

The network is an umbrella group representing the hundreds of members spanning all the local FoE groups in the county. We're active on issues, like the PFI incinerator process, whose impact will be countywide.

All FoE groups are apolitical and focussed on environmental concerns. We are not aligned to or opposed to any particular political party. Certainly in my own campaigning work for FoE I've found myself in both agreement and opposition to all of the parties represented in Gloucestershire on one issue or another.

I would like to see broader cross-party opposition to the incinerator plan. Our waste campaigners will be talking to all parties in the hope that this can be achieved.

Richard Conibere
Coordinator, Cheltenham FoE

Joe said...

Richard, I am fairly sure that when I last looked at the GFOE home page, the newsletter was from 2007, perhaps even 2006. Now it is 2008's. Still, none of the contact details there suggested one that would get a response from a representative for 'Gloucestershire Friends of the Earth'. Your own is for Cheltenham FoE.

I went to Friends of the Earth's main site, found their internet forum, and started a conversation about the incinerator as a guest (there was some initial difficulty with logging on). I've even mentioned this in comment to the Citizen articles, but no-one in GFOEN seems to take much of an interest in the main site.

The 'cross-party' intiative can only be implemented if GFOEN is seen to be criticising more than one political group (GCC's Tory leadership), while in co-operation with another political group, Parmjit Dhanda and his staff. Ask GCC awkward questions by all means, but ask Dhanda if the government is prepared to rule out incineration as something they will pay for or, better yet, hand over the £92 million to make *100%* recycling a reality.

I've also just started a conversation about incineration on Radio 4's Science board.

Joe said...

Oh, and a link for the FoE message board:


Anonymous said...

Look - at the end of the day you have 2 choices, bury the rubbish or burn it and before anyone says "We must encourage people to recycle more" I say "Tosh" how you gonna do that then without financial insentives?

Andy said...

It is just not true there are only 2 choices - what about AD and other alternatives to incineration? Plus there are different ways to incinerate - if you also use the heat then you are becoming more efficient otherwise incinerators are way down with landfill as the most danmaging to our environment.

Joe said...

I typed out this letter Mary Newton wrote to the Citizen, because letter can no longer be viewed online anymore, and posted it to the latest article about the incinerator, the one about the 'ten-storey beast'. Surprise, the Citizen deleted it as well...

Mary Newton, of Gloucestershire Friends of the Earth Network, wrote this letter to the Citizen and it appeared on March 9th. Letters can't be found with the search function now, in fact I don't think letters can be read at all online anymore, so I typed this one out:

OPEN your waste bin and you will see the potential to create new businesses and new jobs.
Your rubbish is made from raw materials and the energy already used in it's manufacture, so it makes sense to recycle rather than starting from scratch in making products to sell.
Real recycling is not dead, it's the future. When the news was full of stockpiled recyclates, leading materials' reprocessors wrote to DEFRA saying that they were still having to import high quality recyclates, mainly produced from kerbside separation schemes and household recycling centres. In the UK the problem is that so many local authorities are concentrating on mixed collections which produce low grade, often contaminated recyclates which can ruin manufacturing processes.
As little as ten years ago recycled paper was not readily available, now it is quite commonly used in all kinds of products, the same with recycled glass. Soft plastics are being turned into all kinds of rigid products, even fence posts.
Only two weeks ago high technology firms, Knowaste, in Birmingham, announced it is to turn nappies into plastic cladding roof tiles and Via i-plas in Yorkshire is to turn mixed plastics into high performance building material to be used in the construction industry. Britain is good at innovation, this is an expanding market for new businesses and new jobs.
Two years ago Eunomia, an expert in the field of waste, said that we can recycle 93.3% of our bin waste. In the County Zero Waste Week The Citizen showed a local family whose waste for a year was a small amount of mixed plastic. Now with the advent of outlets for mixed plastics and used nappies we edge closer to the possiblity of zero waste. Yes, there are techologies readily available now as an alternative to incineration, which do not produce toxic fly ash, markedly produce less greenhouse gases, can be built on a small scale and are flexible to meet proven need, are cheaper to build and can be run on short term contracts. A good example is small Mechanical Biological Treatment plants with Anaerobic digestion. But the best alternative of all is to re-use, reduce, compost and recycle our waste, making sure collections are kerbside separated thus helping to provide someone with a new job in a new business.

Philip Booth said...

Thanks - yes a good letter - you will see yesterday that Greens were in Gloucester collecting more signatures re the petition - a good reception from the public.

Joe said...

I guess I will see news of the signature gathering in tomorrow's paper. It's always good to see new material, because it's a chance to challenge the politically motivated 'objectors' anew.

I felt that since I have queried Mary Newton's reluctance to engage in debate about the waste management proposals, barring that Quedgeley meeting, publicising her letter was the least I could do.

The Citizen deleted it from the 'beast' article twice, and will probably do so a third time when they start work tomorrow. I'm effectively engaged in an online war with the paper now, because they even delete such comments as a remark that Network Rail failed to honour an offer to build a footbridge over the railway line when they closed the Robinswood crossing in Gloucester. It isn't just that I've reported them to the Press Complaints Commission for once again suggesting that the deselection of police applicants controversy was more concerned with ethnicity than gender. They were deleting comments, sometimes entire discussions and then the ability to even post comment at *all*, long before that. I still believe that Ian Mean's ultimate task, for Northcliffe Media, is to close the paper, or merge it with the Echo.