5 Oct 2013

Burning issues

What happens to your waste? In an ideal world, it would be good to reuse and recycle or compost everything that goes into the bins. It’s cleaner than landfill, and more sustainable. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that reclaiming materials from waste saves resources, and as we have finite resources and just the one planet, it seems a good idea to recycle as much as we can. That should be a no-brainer.

We all know that burning things releases carbon dioxide. More often than not, it also puts other unwanted chemicals into the atmosphere, too.

So with that in mind, you’d probably think that no sane person would suggest burning rubbish as a solution to household waste. It’s so 19th century, and we’re so much wiser than that, right?

Sadly  not.

Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and Urbaser Balfour Beatty want to build a huge waste incinerator in the Severn Vale. It’s already been turned down by planning permission, so they’re fighting it.

To quote from the petition site, “It would burn recyclable materials and discourage recycling, produce persistent organic pollutants in its residues and cost local taxpayers c.£500 million over 25 years. We prefer cheaper, safer, less visually intrusive, environmentally friendly alternatives such as small MBT and AD plants. The Cotswold Conservation Board, CPRE, Natural England, Stroud District Council and thousands of local residents object to this proposal.”

You can sign the petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43257

In a recent press release, Cllr Sarah Lunnon said, “GCC’s fascination with burning our natural resources is political – the new Tory administration in 2005 cancelled the Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) waste project that was being developed. It could not then be seen to choose the Lib/Lab solution again during the replacement tendering process. In fact that MBT solution would be operable by now, saving considerable amounts of landfill and landfill tax.”

Building an incinerator is not about science, or saving money. It’s not about safe and sustainable solutions to waste, or the good of the community. It’s about the Tories refusing to back good ideas from other parties. It is not the job of politicians to try and score points in this way.

However, it’s not all bad news. These insane, polluting monsters can be stopped, as campaigners in London have recently proved.

LONDON Green Euro-MP Jean Lambert has welcomed the decision to scrap plans for a massive rubbish treatment plant in north London, in the face of opposition from community, environmental and human rights groups. Ms Lambert, the capital’s Green Party MEP, said: “I am delighted that the North London Waste Authority has decided to ditch the proposals for Pinkham Way treatment plant. It’s a massive victory for local campaigners. Now the North London Waste Authority should think about using existing sites more effectively, working to reduce household waste levels, and building smaller sites, closer to where the waste is being produced, where these prove absolutely necessary rather than developing systems that rely on on-going waste production.”

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