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Greens object to importing waste

Sheffield Green Party has objected to Veolia’s planning application to import waste from surrounding authorities, and is urging others to object too.

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.”

Click here to go to planning application and submit your own comments


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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. The impact of traffic and additional air pollution has been taken into consideration;
  5. Alternative transport arrangements have been considered for instance making use of the nearby railway and/or canal;
  6. 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;
  7. 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.”

Topics: City Wide, Council, Energy, Graham Wroe, Local Campaigns, Manor Castle, Pressure Groups, Recycling, Waste

There are 8 Responses to Greens object to importing waste

27th January 2011

Whenever I go near the incinerator, there’s a horrible smell. – What harm is it doing to us when we breathe in those fumes? – and when our skin takes in the particles in the air? Who is analysing the possible impact on our health? Does it cause cancer?

Is it time to close down the incinerator?

    28th January 2011

    Unfortunately closing down the incinerator isn’t financially possible at the moment. The LibDems signed a 30 year contract when the new incinerator was built. They have snookered the possibility of a sensible zero waste strategy. But we must encourage people to object to the madness of importing waste was from a wide area.

      5th February 2011

      The incinerator wasn’t designed properly in the first place. Wood waste isn’t accepted because of the limitations in design of the chutes – basically they were not built wide enough to incorporate large items. Veolia should not be allowed to accept other region’s waste, and should be forced to accept wood waste, at a reduced gate fee cost from skip companies/other providers. Wood waste has the highest calorific content, why would you make a fire that cant burn wood? Ludicrous.
      ‘Ask them where the ‘Bring Out Your Rubbish Day’ waste goes. ‘

      And how long are contracts from other regions going to be, another 30 year, debilitating agreement that will stop our city from reaching targets? Incineration is not recycling, and the term ‘energy recovery facility’ is a joke. Its not even down-cycling. Its burning ‘rubbish’ out of laziness. We need to develop our recycling society, the only good thing about the incinerator is no landfill.
      We don’t want other peoples rubbish in our city. Stop taking the easy way out and do it right.

      6th February 2011

      I absolutely agree that incineration is not recycling. We should be reducing, repairing, re-using and recycling as much as possible before burning so-called “waste”. The Green Party has always wanted to work towards “zero waste” and recognises that having a giant incinerator with a 35 year contract stands in the way of this.

      To answer these specific points.

      1. The incinerator was designed for municipal waste. The problem with wood is not that it is too big (it can be broken up) but that it burns too hot. I think it is a very good question as to whether the incinerator could be redesigned or even run differently so as to accomodate wood. Of course that begs the question as to weather we should be producing and burning so much wood, but it is “greener” than burning plastics at least, as unlike oil, trees can be replaced and fix carbon while they grow.

      2. The material from Bring Out Your Rubbish Days (and indeed much of the “waste” taken to “recycling” sites) is broken up, mixed with nice wet municipal waste and fed into the incinerator. Some which really can’t be recycled or burnt is landfilled.

      3. The planning application is for temporary permission, a few years only, not 30, until the neighbouring authorities get their new alternatives to landfill up and running. It looks as though Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster are planning to build an incinerator themselves as soon as they can in any case.

      4. On commercial waste, yes it would be better to burn that than import waste .. provided it could not be reduced, re-used, recycled, of course. This is certainly an area where the City Council should be pushing Veolia really hard.

      We are in a real mess here, due to the decision made by the Lib Dems in 2001.

      Jillian Creasy

      21st February 2011

      Graham is absolutely correct. I live in Shrewsbury where Veolia had its application for a 90,000 tonne incinerator unanimously refused by Shropshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee on 1 Sep 10. Veolia has now appealed this decision, and has to be supported by the council against its own councillors under the terms of the 27 year contract, maybe to the tune of £1m at a time when we are faced with severe cutbacks in public services. The objecting groups have shown that there is already not enough household waste to support this burner, that there is already enough incinerator capacity in the West Midlands, that it is against the Waste Local Plan for the chosen site, and that there are very strong public fears over the health implications (do you know that household waste will contain radioactive sources from discarded smoke alarms – work out how many there are in Sheffield, then with a 10 year life of each you can see just how many will be thrown away – I worked out that there will be some 13,000 entering the waste stream each year in Shropshire. But the EA says that the Americium 241 is melted into the tin foil surrounding it and does not escape!). The EA permit, issued in June 2010, will allow the Shrewsbury burner to accept waste wood, I do not know of any other burner which does; I personally believe that this reflects the inability of the burner to get enough “burnable” waste

27th January 2011

Has the world gone mad – don’t we burn too much waste as it is in the city without importing other peoples rubbish to further pollute the air we have to breathe in?

I’m not a scientist but there must be a better way – I despair.

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