Greens warn possible judicial review on waste

Filed in Blog by on December 10, 2009 2 Comments
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Is Gloucester ear marked for an incinerator?

Is Gloucester ear marked for an incinerator?

In our local paper this week there have been a couple of articles about incineration in Gloucestershire.

13 sites were ear marked for ‘waste disposal’ and these have been whittled down to four, but residents have not been told which technologies the council are considering.  Critics believe the council has already made up its mind and is set on building a waste incinerator there but Shire Hall leaders say they have an open mind.

According to “The Citizen”, Javelin Park is a step closer to being the solution to the county’s landfill problem. Names and technologies are secret at the moment to protect commercial confidentiality – but incineration has not been ruled out.

Over on his Ruscombe Green website, Cllr Philip Booth (Green party) , who wrote about incineration and the waste core strategy for us a few weeks ago has covered this story in detail.

Cllr Sarah Lunnon, Green District and County councillor, wrote to local press about the risks the County are taking regarding a Judicial Review and has kindly given us permission to copy her letter here in the hope it will help raise awareness and add pressure for more sustainable solutions:

“Gloucestershire County Council is currently deciding which process it is going to use to manage our waste. Due to increasing landfill tax it is becoming expensive to throw stuff into a handy big hole, as well as wasteful and polluting so we need to do something else.

Unfortunately doing something else is also expensive, and not only expensive but also sensitive. Many local communities fancy having a waste disposal site on their doorstep? As well as expensive and politically sensitive it is very complicated. Well I find it complicated, and I’ve have had the issues explained several times.

Gloucestershire’s waste is made up of stuff that can be recycled and stuff that can’t. Industry sources indicate that 80% of our waste is able to be recycled but GCC is aiming for 60% and calls this ambitious although several EU countries exceed this figure! Aside from the difficulties in really setting ambitious recycling targets the County Council has to manage the stuff that isn’t recycled. The technique that is chosen to do this will have to meet national and international criteria and the County Council has to demonstrate that it has undertaken meaningful consultation with those of us who have an interest in how our rubbish is managed. Anyone out there not interested the literally millions of pounds that is and will be spent on rubbish?

It is here that I have the trouble. Our County Council as the Authority that has to manage collected household waste has presented the results of stakeholder consultation it undertook as showing equal weighting given to cost, flexibility and environment. Perhaps, not surprisingly, my reading of the reports seems to demonstrate that environmental consideration emerge consistently higher. Sometimes a little bit higher sometimes shed loads (technical waste term). Our County Council also has to abide by EU and national CO2 reduction legislation. I find it really, really hard to understand how the County council is doing this when it hasn’t specified low CO2 technology. Worse still its planned selection process it actually reduces the weighting given to environmental consideration as the selection process for technologies nears its end.

I worry that on these two issues alone Gloucestershire County Council may be leaving itself wide open to critical Judicial Review, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds and potentially needing for a third time to go and find a rubbish strategy.”

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 (2)

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  1. Jane says:

    Don’t you mean “Any local communities fancy having a waste disposal facility on their doorstep?”

    I understand that Germany now has too many incinerators and has to import waste for them.

    There have been a lot of European Directives about reducing waste sent to landfill but there doesn’t seem to have been money with them to help carry them out.

    Hasn’t Dorset just decided that since the amount of waste has now declined they won’t go ahead with one using PFI money?

  2. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Jane, it’s very concerning to read that Germany has too many incinerators and has to import waste – that seems such a crazy idea. The way forward as far as I am concerned is with increased education, recycling facilities and money put into the 3Rs – a nationwide scale of what we are doing on the site. I don’t know about the Dorset story – I wonder if anyone else does …

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