Why we should not have the incinerator

The “Energy from Waste” facility at Battlefield – that’s the Incinerator to most of us.


Building work on the Battlefield incinerator is planned to start in January 2013.



What’s worrying about the incinerator?

WE DON’T NEED IT
•    It’s a horrendously expensive way of getting rid of our waste. The incinerator will have the capacity to burn 90,000 tonnes a year and must burn this quantity to achieve maximum efficiency. Shropshire only produces about 70,000 tonnes of black bag waste a year at the moment and that amount is expected to fall, as it has done year on year over several years.
•    The incinerator is an “energy from waste” facility – ie electricity will be produced from the waste. This sounds OK, but is a highly inefficient and expensive way of producing electricity.

AN INCINERATOR MAY DISCOURAGE RECYCLING
•    The incinerator must burn 90,000 tonnes a year to achieve maximum efficiency. Even though Veolia, according to their contract, are supposed to ensure maximujm recycling, there’s a worry that there will be less incentive to encourage recycling, because waste will be needed for the incinerator.

WE NEED ALL THE RESOURCES WE’VE GOT
•    We believe that valuable resources will be lost if our waste is burned. Many people think that we will be mining landfill sites in the near future. Biofuels are in short supply, and we can use all the wood, plastic and metals we can get. If they’re burnt, we can never recover them.

WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT THE HEALTH IMPACTS
•    The European Union recognises that there are problems. In a couple of years new regulations will come in relating to emissions from incinerator chimneys. Veolia’s incinerator is old technology; it will be very expensive (a cost paid by Shropshire council-tax payers) to install the new technology.

IT WILL BE HUGELY EXPENSIVE: THE MOST EXPENSIVE INCINERATOR PER TONNE OF WASTE IN THE UK
•    Veolia is using a PFI (private finance initiative) to fund the construction of the incinerator. So this loan will have to be paid off over the life of the incinerator (about 25 years) aswell as covering the running costs.
•    Veolia is expecting to attract commercial waste to make up the tonnage that Shropshire households don’t use. Also, the incinerator is an “energy from waste” facility – ie electricity will be produced from the waste which Veolia will be able to sell. This sounds OK, but is a highly inefficient and expensive way of producing electricity.
•    But THERE’S A HUGE SNAG. Shropshire Council has committed us council-tax payers to covering all Veolia’s costs if they don’t manage to get in enough money to cover running costs and repay the PFI loan.  If Veolia can’t attract enough commercial waste, or commercial companies can’t be persuaded to pay enough – WE PICK UP THE TAB.

What are the alternatives?


SORT AND RECYCLE/COMPOST
•    Our black bag waste should be sorted to extract all recyclable materials (some people still don’t separate their waste).
•    Food waste should be being composted. Veolia are intending to build a facility for “in vessel composting” near Telford. But they have waited 2 years so far to get the go ahead. They should be using other companies’ composting facilities.

BURN IF THERE’S NO ALTERNATIVE – ON A TEMPORARY BASIS
•    There are incinerators in other parts of the West Midlands/Staffordshire – so on a temporary basis it would be possible to burn our black bag waste there until other solutions are found.

USE NEW TECHNOLOGY ASAP TO RECYCLE BLACK BAG WASTE
•    Most importantly, Shropshire Council should be investigating the new technologies which are capable of recycling )0%+)of black bag waste (and commeòcIa$ easte) to produce building materials. This would be cheaper, cleaner and less wa3tefQl of resources.

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