Parmjit Dhanda, MP for Gloucester talks about incineration

Filed in Blog, Guest Posts by on November 12, 2009 9 Comments
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Parmjit Dhanda MP for Gloucestershire talks about incineration

Parmjit Dhanda MP for Gloucestershire talks about incineration

This week’s guest post is from Parmjit Dhanda, MP for Gloucestershire.

He lives with his family in Matson and today would like to share his thoughts on incineration along with how he would like to see Gloucestershire deal with its waste in the future.

After reading, why not sign the incinerator petition on his website.

As landfill becomes a last resort to dispose of domestic refuse, waste has now become a hot topic across Gloucestershire and we have to make a choice; we should invest in quality kerb side recycling, and set up a unified collection service throughout Gloucestershire. We should introduce far more environmentally friendly methods of dealing with residual waste such as anaerobic digestion and mechanical, biological treatment. We can disperse our waste sites across the region to cut down on the carbon footprint from the collection to the disposal of waste and we can increase recycling across Gloucestershire – setting an 80% target by 2020.

Alternatively we could buy into the Gloucestershire County Council’s vision and build a 10 storey central incinerator to burn 150,000 tons of waste a year. This will then allow us to become lazy when it comes to recycling and reusing and give the public little incentive to dispose of waste in an environmentally sensible way, as an incinerator (being a hungry machine) will need to be fed 24/7. We can admire its stack from a distance, marvel at its outdated technology and look forward, as taxpayers, to forking out the fines imposed on us when they cannot produce enough waste to satisfy the giant incinerator’s appetite. We can also stand back and watch our future generations suffer from the ill effects of the fly ash and the dioxins an incinerator produces. At least the County Council would have solved their landfill problem, but at what environmental cost?

There are imaginative plans afoot to use the methane from anaerobic digestion – to crack it in to hydrogen and to power light railways in Gloucestershire. But if we choose to incinerate instead, that would also kill off this imaginative transport plan. Technology is moving fast, but a giant incinerator would be a slow burner for the length of its 25 year contract. Its time to think again.

Parmjit Dhanda MP

Member of Parliament for Gloucester

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (9)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Parmjit has joined the excellent trend in MPs, following Hilary Benn’s Zero Waste strategy, to look to sustainable practice for the future. EfW Incineration was widely promoted as the means to deal with municipal waste, but that has changed to some extent. The PFI backing for this brought in many foreign companies eager to grab the 25 year contracts, for new projects.

    As well as promoting better choices, like AD, it would be good to see the PFI removed from EfW Incineration but allow it for sustainable choices. This is a matter for politicians and I hope they can make this change. If the waste industry works in such an environment they will be rewarded for beneficial practices and penalised for unsustainable activities, like EfW Incineration.

  2. sandy says:

    Lets hope that the rest follow suit

  3. Ben says:

    Everything being sent to these incincerators was once useful raw materials. In the case of packaging as recently as weeks before it became rubbish. There’s too much talk about rubbish and very little is said about how and why once useful things like oil and wood that were taken from the planet’s resources ended up with no further uses, and often in such a short period of time.

    Having reached the far end of this illogical cycle, once nearly all the environmental damage, extraction, processing and distribution of so many consumer products has taken place, we seem to forget all about what came before and just ask what to do with the resulting rubbish.

    This rubbish is the end step of a much bigger cycle and much bigger problem. We can’t fix any of the problems that bought us here, from wasting of resources to poor choice of materials by solving just the rubbish problem. Actually, we can’t even solve the rubish problem as an isolated thing. Short of sending it in to space, we can’t even throw our rubbish away. Not one single thing ever thrown in a landfill bin has ever really gone away, we just used to pretend it did by hiding it in the ground. Burning it doesn’t make it magically vanish either, that’s just dumping it in to the atmosphere.

    The only way we can stop the rubish is to stop making it. I can’t think of any even vaguely sensible solutions to it that deal with rubbish as an isolated thing.

    We need to ask how and why all this useless stuff got here. Why are there no incentives for businesses to use less packaging, and when packaging is needed why are reusable and recyclable materials not strongly favoured? Why are there still many areas with limited access to recycle bins for materials that are easily recycled? Why has so little been said about the increasingly poor life span of many consumer goods? Why is recyclability not being designed in from the beginning with all consumer goods so that they have somewhere practical to go when worn out?

  4. Mr Green says:

    Quoting Parmjit Dhandar

    Alternatively we could buy into the Gloucestershire County Council’s vision and build a 10 storey central incinerator to burn 150,000 tons of waste a year. This will then allow us to become lazy when it comes to recycling and reusing and give the public little incentive to dispose of waste in an environmentally sensible way,…

    This would indeed be an environmental crime. The whole concept of reducing waste is reversed when suddenly we need to produce waste to become a fuel to feed these incinerators. The psychology of “reduce waste because it harms the environment” suddenly changes to “never mind waste… at least it now goes to producing energy from the incinerator”

    We conveniently forget that these primitive burning machines still have a vast impact on the environment and errode our social conscience for waste mangement reform.

    Thank-you Mr Dhanda for speaking so openly and making it clear where you stand in this important issue.

  5. Poppy says:

    Parmjit is not the only Gloucestershire MP to speak out against incinerators. It appears that it is only the Conservative MP’s that are keeping quiet. Presumably this is to keep inline with the group who currently run the administration.

    The 2 below have also spoken openly about their objections.

    Personally I feel that any supposed success in this campaign will be carefully timed to gain the most advantage.

  6. Rob Whittle, NAIL2 says:

    Well done Parmjit who rightly argues we need better “stuff management”.

    Many thanks to UK WIN Coordinator Shlomo Dowen who is winning CIWM over with his arguments and presentations.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Thank you Parmjit, for taking the time to write this post for us. It seems you have a lot of support from consumers and householders for your views. We can only hope that voices like yours are heard and help to sway the decision about the fate of our ‘rubbish’ in Gloucestershire.

    Ben, you made some great comments; thoughts which we share ourselves and regularly stay up late into the night talking about 😉

    Poppy and Rob ; thanks for the links – as always, it’s useful to see what others are up to 🙂

    John; indeed, let us hope that only sustainable solutions are allowed in the future; that would be a welcome relief….

  8. Poppy says:

    There is quite rightly, a lot of oppostion to incineration Mrs G.

    Amother local group who have been putting up with *our* rubbish for far too long is SWARD, who are based in Bishops Cleeve near to the Wingmoor Farm site at Stoke Orchard. They are particularly worried that Fly Ash from any incinerator will find its way to Bishops Cleeve as it is currently the only site that can except TOXIC WASTE!

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Poppy, SWARD is a great campaign. It must be really worrying to live so close to such a site 🙁

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