Friday, January 13, 2012

Jim Duffy's excellent letter in the paper

Dear Sir

Sutton Council's environmental credentials will go up in smoke if it gives the go-ahead to the proposed Beddington incinerator.
It's ironic that Viridor will be testing a means of reducing particulates from its predicted increased lorry movements in Beddington (1) while the proposed incinerator itself will blast out billions of particulates, linked to a wide range of illnesses from asthma to cancer (2). Although from 2016 it will be illegal to emit PB15 and larger particles, it is the smaller ones down in size to PM5 which more easily enter the blood system through our lungs and are considered dangerous.
Astonishingly the South London Waste Plan also gives permission for Viridor to burn radioactive and toxic waste (3). Viridor has said this clause was 'accidentally' added after publication (4) but Sutton's Executive did not deny it at its meeting on 12th December. One 'plume map' commissioned by Croydon Green Party shows much of the pollution from particulates, dioxins and low-level radiation will disperse to areas as far as Carshalton Beeches, Wallington, Morden and even Beckenham and Dulwich (5).
The planned 'Energy from Waste' incinerator, designed to produce electricity, requires large volumes of paper and wood as well as plastics to keep the turbines spinning. But Friends of the Earth say these materials should be recycled not burnt (6), a view endorsed in a recent EU directive on resource management (8).
Regarding the local economy, a point raised by Councillor Hall to support the incinerator, recycling produces ten times more jobs per tonne of waste than incineration. He might also take note of twelve current campaigns against incinerators run by Lib-Dem groups across the UK (7).
The Government is right to encourage councils to manage our waste better and move away from landfill but Sutton should consider adopting a less polluting approach alongside improved recycling, including small-scale 'anaerobic digesters'. These produce electricity from our food waste and are approved by UK environmental groups (6). They are already successfully used in Belgium helping to clean up old landfill sites.
Hackbridge and Beddington people may wish to air their concerns at two council-led meetings discussing the incinerator: Hackbridge Primary School at 7pm on Thursday 12th January and at Beddington Park Primary School at 7.30pm on Wednesday January 18th.
Jim Duffy

1. Sutton Guardian report on pollution prevention measures for waste lorries:
2. The Health Effects of Waste Incinerators, British Society for Ecological Medicine:
3. "Policy WP2 states that planning permission for additional facilities for other waste streams including construction, demolition and excavation waste, hazardous waste, agricultural waste, radioactive waste and waste water will be permitted."
Paragraph 4.60a of the South London Waste Plan Proposed Submission 2011
(My highlights in yellow of contentious wastes)
4. Viridor meeting with Beddington Farmlands committee, 12th December 2011.
5. Pollution Rose for 100 ft incinerator stack at Beddington:
6. Friends of the Earth press release stating Energy from Waste 'green' claims are a myth:
7. Twelve Lib-Dem anti-incinerator campaigns found in a google search. Incineration is against national Lib-Dem policy.
Spelthorne, Surrey
St Albans, Herts
Marston Vale, Bedford
Tewksbury, Glos
Rookery Pit, Nottingham
Cross Green, Leeds
Avonmouth, Bristol
Costessey, Norfolk
Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Newquay, Cornwall
Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales
Suffolk County
8. Extracts from new European Commission guidelines on resource management:
The EC report, "Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe" was published on 20th September 2011, the day the second stage of the South London Waste Plan consultation ended, so unfortunately could not be considered in that process:
A key goal, under 'Milestones by 2020' is: "Energy recovery is limited to non recyclable materials". The Commission makes a strong case for preserving materials such as paper and wood for re-use and recycling that otherwise (in the SLWP scenario) would go to feedstock for incineration.
I have reproduced the key paragraphs from the report below in italics with some points highlighted in yellow:
3.2. Turning waste into a resource
Each year in the European Union we throw away 2.7 billion tonnes of waste, 98 million

tonnes of which is hazardous. On average only 40% of our solid waste is re-used or recycled,
the rest going to landfill or incineration. Overall waste generation is stable in the EU,
however, generation of some waste streams like construction and demolition waste, to sewage
sludge and marine litter is still increasing. Waste electrical and electronic equipment alone is
expected to increase by roughly 11% between 2008 and 2014.

In some Member States more than 80% of waste is recycled, indicating the possibilities of
using waste as one of the EU’s key resources. Improving waste management makes better use
of resources and can open up new markets and jobs, as well as encourage less dependence on
imports of raw materials and lower impacts on the environment.

If waste is to become a resource to be fed back into the economy as a raw material, then much
higher priority needs to be given to re-use and recycling. A combination of policies would
help create a full recycling economy, such as product design integrating a life-cycle approach,
better cooperation along all market actors along the value chain, better collection processes,
appropriate regulatory framework, incentives for waste prevention and recycling, as well as
public investments in modern facilities for waste treatment and high quality recycling.

Milestone: By 2020, waste is managed as a resource. Waste generated per capita is in
absolute decline. Recycling and re-use of waste are economically attractive options for
public and private actors due to widespread separate collection and the development of
functional markets for secondary raw materials. More materials, including materials
having a significant impact on the environment and critical raw materials, are recycled.
Waste legislation is fully implemented. Illegal shipments of waste have been eradicated.
Energy recovery is limited to non recyclable materials, landfilling is virtually eliminated
and high quality recycling is ensured.

The Commission will:
• Stimulate the secondary materials market and demand for recycled materials through
economic incentives and developing end-of-waste criteria (in 2013/2014);
• Review existing prevention, re-use, recycling, recovery and landfill diversion targets
to move towards an economy based on re-use and recycling, with residual waste
close to zero (in 2014);
• Assess the introduction of minimum recycled material rates, durability and reusability
criteria and extensions of producer responsibility for key products (in
• Assess areas where legislation on the various waste streams could be aligned to
improve coherence (in 2013/2014);
• Continue working within the EU and with international partners to eradicate illegal
waste shipments with a special focus on hazardous waste;
• Ensure that public funding from the EU budget gives priority to activities higher up
the waste hierarchy as defined in the Waste Framework Directive (e.g. priority to
recycling plants over waste disposal
) (in 2012/2013);
• Facilitate the exchange of best practice on collection and treatment of waste among
Member States and develop measures to combat more effectively breaches of EU
waste rules (in 2013/2014).

Member States should:
• ensure full implementation of the EU waste acquis including minimum targets
through their national waste prevention and management strategies (continuous).

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