Greens previously supported the successful campaign to get the former polluting incinerator at Bernard Road shut down, but were dismayed when it was replaced in 2005 by an even larger waste incinerator. At the time, planning officers said that it would not be necessary to import waste, but the Greens warned them that as recycling increases there would not be enough waste to feed such a massive incinerator. This has proved to be the case.
Spokesperson Graham Wroe, who also formerly chaired the protest group RABID (Residents against Bernard Road Incinerator), comments :
“As we’ve said many times before, Sheffield Council has got itself into a very difficult situation. They should never have given permission for such a big incinerator to be built.”
He added, “Before Veolia imports waste from other authorities, they need to show that all possible sources of local waste, such as commercial and industrial (that would not otherwise be recycled), are being fully used. If Veolia does need to import waste, it must be done in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Also, they should fully investigate the rail and canal transport options instead of the damaging road options.”
The Sheffield Green Party objection submitted to Veolia’s Application to import waste :
“The Green Party is in favour of moving waste up the well recognised “hierarchy”, whereby reduction is best and landfill worst. We recognise that incineration with energy reclamation is better, in carbon terms, than some methods of disposal, but only for some waste streams and in some circumstances.
We also recognise that Sheffield is in a peculiarly difficult situation having signed a long term contract with Veolia and having built an incinerator, designed for domestic waste and with twice the capacity currently required. Recycling targets and economic pressures are likely to drive down waste arisings further. We recognise there are financial and legal barriers to the solution we suggested in 2001, i.e. a waste strategy designed to achieve “zero waste” in the long term.
In terms of importing waste, this should only happen as part of a robust regional waste strategy whereby materials for re-use, repair or recycling, or genuine residual waste, is transported to specialist facilities. At all times, the total life cycle carbon costs and the impact on local waste strategies current and future, should be considered.
We therefore object to this application unless:
- Veolia has demonstrated that it has done everything it can to source it’s feedstock from Sheffield; this would include identifying suitable commercial and industrial waste (which could not otherwise have been recycled) and dropping its gate price to attract new customers;
- The carbon cost of transporting waste has been taken into consideration which includes transporting waste to collection centres, not simply calculating the distance travelled from the collection centre to Bernard Road;
- There is a favourable environmental comparison between energy reclamation at Bernard Road and (a) what is happening to the waste now and (b) how it could be disposed of in the foreseeable future;
- The impact of traffic and additional air pollution has been taken into consideration;
- Alternative transport arrangements have been considered for instance making use of the nearby railway and/or canal;
- There is a clear explanation of the financial benefits to Veolia and Sheffield City Council of importing more waste and some indication of how this money could be used to offset the environmental costs of importing waste;
- There is a clear explanation of any legal requirements on Veolia and Sheffield City Council which might affect or result from this application being accepted or rejected.”