12 Jan 2010

Letter to SNJ on incineration

Last week's SNJ had a letter re waste and incineration - it made some useful points but was fundamentally wrong on it's call for incineration of our waste. Yesterday we had a Green District councillors meeting in Stroud - walked in as car wasn't working and bike had a flat - slid several times - anyhow we discussed next steps in trying to ensure the County comes to it's senses on this waste issue - why could they not rule out incineration like other areas have?

Photos: Marchwood Incinerator, Hampshire - visited by Green party waste researcher and former Vision 21 Director Chris Harmer - it is one of these monsters that could well end up at Javelin Park near Stonehouse.

Here is my response to the letter in SNJ:

Terry Morgan writes to the SNJ suggesting that those of us who reject incineration of our waste, don't offer viable alternatives (6 Jan). This could not be further from the truth. See www.glosgreenparty.org.uk/waste, which explains how the Green party would like to see the resources in domestic and municipal waste recovered in the most efficient way.

An MBT plant (mechanical-biological treatment), for example, can mechanically sort recyclable materials from ‘black bag’ waste and anaerobically digest the recovered biological fraction to produce biogas and fertiliser.

In contrast there are many problems with mass burn incineration, but the main one is that it is a colossal waste of resources. Our waste is going to become an increasingly important source of raw materials. For example, composted food waste can grow next year's food. By throwing waste into a massive incinerator, you may produce some electricity but you waste recoverable resources and you produce too much heat to put to the most effective use.

Furthermore a large incinerator has a huge potential to be a white elephant that ties us into a 24 year plus contract. This would exclude rapidly developing technologies and could even leave us open to paying compensation to contractors if we don't produce enough waste.

The point of Councillor Sarah Lunnon’s letter in the SNJ (23 Dec), is that the Gloucestershire County Council is not giving the necessary weighting to the issue of the environment when considering the waste strategy for the county. Low CO2 technology is not specified in the strategy and by omitting this, we consider the County may not be abiding by EU or national CO2 reduction legislation. A large incinerator is wrong environmentally, but also the economics don't stack up long term.


Cllr. Philip Booth,
Stroud District councillor for the Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward

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