It was last week we had Paul Connett talk to us in King's Stanley about incinerators - now we have Friends of the Earth launch a campaign against incinerators - see it here - you can also send an email letter from that page to the three big parties - see that letter below.
One of the issues the campaign letter looks at is PFI - there was a good article in The Independent recently - see here - showing the vast vast vast waste of these schemes - an astonishing £300bn!!!!!!
Cartoon by Russ for this blog
I am very concerned that the Government is giving councils 2 billion pounds of taxpayers money to fund PFI waste projects, many of which are likely to include incineration.
New incinerators will require a fixed amount of waste every day over their 25-30 year lifetime, meaning that we will severely limit our future opportunities to maximise both recycling and the anaerobic digestion (AD) of separately collected food waste.
DEFRA modelling already predicts that there will be too many residual waste plants (like incinerators) built by 2020. But this prediction is likely to be an underestimate, as they have assumed that waste will grow in volume - in reality it is reducing - and that recycling rates only reach 50%, when it is clear that much higher rates can be achieved.
The more excess plants there are, the more they will suck in waste that should be recycled or go to AD. For example, in a number of European countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, they already have too many incinerators, and don't recycle as much as they could.
Instead, technologies for residual waste treatment should be flexible, able to scale down capacity as recycling rates increase (e.g. as food waste collection spreads) or waste volumes decrease (as has happened in the recession), and should be based on approaches with the best resource efficiency and climate performance.
In addition to stopping public funding for incineration, we need to make sure that recycling is always cheaper than incineration. Landfill tax and the landfill allowance trading scheme are successfully driving waste out of landfill, but these only act to push material one step up the hierarchy. However, work carried out for the Treasury in the past has shown that the environmental damage from incineration is higher than for landfill, and that an incineration tax is justified in environmental and social terms.
A tax on incineration will help ensure that recycling is the more desirable option, particularly for commercial and industrial waste. Such a tax has already helped other parts of Europe reach high recycling rates, with the Flanders region of Belgium already recycling over 70% of their municipal waste. We should be aiming to do the same.
With the election coming soon, now is a great opportunity to commit your party to (i) a moratorium on public funding for incineration projects, (ii) a tax on the incineration of waste; and (iii) a commitment for Britain to match best European recycling rates.
Please could you inform me of your party's plans in this area.