Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dash for ash: incinerator in Shepperton

Went to this meeting of Surrey County Council's Planning and Regulatory Committee last Friday 13th March 2015

I should have been looking after my grandson. It would have been much better use of my time, which I value as I get older, even if no one else does. And my numerous emails about the incinerator seem to have been a waste of time too.

This was the 4th time I'd been to County Hall about this issue, definitely the last. They've all been a futile charade*. Never again do I want to see that condescending chairman Keith Taylor, and Ernest Mallet MBE and the one next to him.
The purpose of the meeting was to stall the planning process and make a fresh application necessary. The chairman's casting vote made sure that didn't happen.
by raising the issue of 'mature' trees, which was of course not the main issue. Arguing about trees as screening was an implicit acceptance of the incinerator. The core issue is whether the incinerator represents value for money, which of course it doesn't:

 'In the House of Commons Select Committee meeting, Margaret Hodge stated about the Eco Park 'I cannot see why you are giving money to Surrey County Council to build a hulking great incinerator in a place where nobody wants it and where it isn't needed.'…The view of many members was that Defra had continued with a 'legacy' project rather than looking at it afresh.  They stated that many European Countries have built too many of these things and are now having to import RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) in order to feed them.'

Why does this economically and environmentally unviable project persist? *Because it would be too expensive for SCC to get out of the contract with SiTA.

The focus of objections has been on the emissions and pollution that would get produced by the incinerator. 

What has never been questioned is the actual production of the waste, and our role as individuals in producing it. We're all destroying the planet's biodiversity, ecosystems, soil, the air; taking not giving back, and wasting resources at an accelerating rate. The incinerator is part of that process; it would require us to produce waste to feed it 24/7, which is hardly an encouragement to 'REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE' is it? We don't have to buy plastic packaging, which is the main content of the waste. If we stopped creating waste, the incinerator wouldn't exist.
I used to enjoy going to the dump. I would take trade waste to the bottom bit and bring recycling to the top area. You could rescue things between boot and skip - 'are you throwing that away?' Not any more. Someone bears down on you, closely watched by CCTV camera, saying it is SITA's property now. So perfectly serviceable things get chucked and you can't do anything about it.
With one or two exceptions, staff used to be friendly and helpful. Now they're too scared of the cameras. It feels as if SITA is doing us a big favour by allowing us to take our recycling there. They are not good on PR, and not encouraging of our efforts at recycling.

I haven’t had a leaflet about this, so am forwarding this to anyone who cares about the environment, about the proposed incinerator which will impact not only locally but on the whole planet.
Here is a link to an interesting R4 programme earlier this year about this subject:
By 2020 the UK must significantly reduce its landfill habit. A recent
government report warned that we would run out of landfill space by 2018 and
a European Directive means we must reduce the amount of waste sent to
landfill from 48% to 35% or face big fines. Next year landfill tax will hit
£80 per tonne. Unsurprisingly there has been a huge rise in planning
applications for incinerators. 90 are proposed to add to the 30 currently in
operation. Waste is big business. Tom Heap visits existing sites where our
rubbish is currently being shipped abroad to create energy and heat in
Europe and asks whether it is time we followed suit.
New technologies such as gasification are currently being developed which
will provide even more heat and power from our residual waste and they
promise to be far cleaner than the mass burn incinerators on the continent,
yet opposition remains strong. 'Costing the Earth' hears from local
residents who fear the health implications if dioxins formed in the high
temperatures are released. Environmental campaigners argue that even if the
health risks can be addressed this solution only creates more carbon dioxide
emissions when what we really need is more recycling and less initial waste.
In his film 'Trashed' actor Jeremy Irons looks at how our waste affects our
health and that of the planet. Tom asks if it's time for a national strategy
on what goes into our bins and where our rubbish ends up.

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