Monday, 19 August 2013

The “march of the incinerators”

Sunday’s Observer newspaper has featured how the “march of the incinerators' threatens drive to recycle more rubbish” and how the “rise in the number of plants burning waste may be a disincentive to
greener methods of disposal.”

It has also commented on how the rush to build incinerators to burn waste is “threatening the country's commitment to increase its recycling rates” and that “the UK is in danger of building far more incineration capacity than it needs.”

These arguments are very similar to those being made by local campaigners against the over-sized incinerator being planned for the China Clay Area in mid Cornwall.

Other key extracts from the article are as follows:

Experts said the use of incinerators had consequences for recycling as local authorities were forced to divert waste to feed the plants. "The choice to invest in thermal treatment can hold back recycling efforts," Adam Baddeley, principal consultant at Eunomia, said. "At one level, the money invested in such plant simply isn't available to put into building recycling plants or collection infrastructure. And once you've built an incinerator or gasifier, there's a strong incentive to keep it fed with waste, even if that means keeping on collecting as 'black bag' rubbish, material that would be economically practicable to collect separately for recycling."

Charmian Larke, technical adviser for Cornwall Waste Forum, which unsuccessfully opposed a large incinerator in the south-west, questioned the planning process that resulted in incinerators being approved. "Some of them [planning officers] have spent their entire careers trying to get this incinerator so they are wedded to the idea," Larke said. "But if the council members understood how bad these contracts were, the officers would lose their jobs." Larke claimed that many of the incinerators were built in poorer areas. "There's a feeling that people who are downtrodden have a harder time getting their act together to object, and hence it's easier to place nasty things next to them."

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