7 Sep 2009

County Tories at odds with national Tories over waste

RubbishLast Wednesday the local Green party agreed to an updated version of our local domestic/ municipal waste policy. It is no surprise as it firmly rules out large incinerators and urges the County to use technologies like MBT and AD that make more sense environmentally and economically.

Copyrighted photo reprinted here with permission of Seattle-based photographer Chris Jordan. See more photos of Katrina.

As I've said here lots large incinerators make no long-term economic or environmental sense - and we remain ever hopeful that the Council is speaking honestly when it claims to be open to a wide range of proposals for the Gloucestershire Residual Waste Contract. However we have still failed to get a reasonable answer as to why if that is the case then did they put in a proposal for an incinerator? Other authorities have not done this.

It is also interesting to see that all this is at odds with their own Tory national party policy. This doesn't seem to be an issue covered in the press - it was a Green party waste rerseacher locally that brought it to our attention. Indeed the Tories Environment shadow Nick Herbert MP has just spoken out in favour of a tax on incineration which would make the economics of an incineration solution even more costly and uncertain.

Some two years ago, the Conservatives published their "Quality of Life" report edited by ex-Environment Minister John Gummer and Tory Green Guru Zac Goldsmith. IT goes as far as to say there should be “a ban should be established by 2012 on the incineration of any untreated biodegradeable and recyclable waste (i.e. waste which has not passed through a pre-treatment process),” and later it reads “We recognise the danger of “lock-in” to large EFW plants that comes with long-term contracts” and finally “incineration must not crowd out waste prevention or recycling, so capacity must be made available only for non-recyclable materials”.

Martin Whiteside, our local Parliamentary candidate has made a statement to the press locally which includes saying: "This County waste contract is likely to be the single most expensive contract that the County Council has ever negotiated. The County Council Conservative administration would do well to choose waste management technologies that are consistent with their own party’s policies, especially as these may have become government policy well before the County lets this contract. A cynic might say that they would look very silly otherwise."

The green party's policy can be viewed at: www.glosgreenparty.org.uk/waste
See press release in full to local papers here.


psywhizz said...

I finally received details of the questionnaire the county council issued to some residents, the one that they are holding out as the only input needed from the public when they decide on which option they're selecting.

What it amounted to was three questions about waste strategy: how important did residents rate the environment, cost and flexibility? Furthermore, how would the public rate them against each other? Environment came out tops.

There's nothing in there that would rule out an incinerator being chosen, however, if the council insisted that it *was* 'environmentally friendly'.

I read that there's another protest coming up at Shire Hall soon. Can't quite recall when, but it makes sense that it would be tomorrow at 10, which is when Jeremy Hilton will be asking about the Allstone proposal.

- Joe

Philip Booth said...

Thanks for comment - Yes demo tomorrow at Shire Hall at 9.30 - a handful of Green District councillors will be there.

I would welcome details of the questionnaire as my queries have still not been answered on that - it sounds like it is worth exploring further - do please email me at press@glosgreenparty.org.uk

The point about incinerators that GCC still don't seem to get is that in the long-term they do not even stack up economically - and certainly environmentally they fail us on many counts.

psywhizz said...

I think I sent that off correctly.

By the way, there is also going to be some discussion about recycling, albeit collection, at St Michael's Tower at 7:30pm tomorrow. Steve Perkins, the Glos City council waste manager, will be explaining how food waste collection will work (still no cardboard), and the City Centre Community Partnership are hosting.

- Joe

Philip Booth said...

Once again thanks for questionnaire details - we have made many further enquiries and I have to say I am totally shocked by how those questionnaires have been interpreted for councillors - a complete nonsense - see todays blog post (13th Oct) which we sent to press.