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Incinerators (aka Energy from Waste)

(15 Posts)
NfkDumpling Mon 01-Oct-12 22:27:02

Over the last ten years Norfolk County Council has been trying to force through the building of a waste incinerator. First on the outskirts of Norwich where it was successfully opposed and now in Kings Lynn. They've spent a fortune in publicity and appeals etc. Other non polluting greener methods of waste disposal were not opposed and could have been up and running by now. Finding out which councils have or are proposing them and where is nigh on impossible and there's a lot of propaganda from the industry for them. There seems to be a national media blackout on reporting the considerable opposition. No investigative programmes. No Daily Mail exposés into why public opinion is being so blatantly ignored.
What else is being hushed up?

annodomini Mon 01-Oct-12 23:25:07

About 15 years ago, when I was a local councillor, I had to chair a meeting at which objections were made to a proposed incinerator. The principal objection was over the disposal of the waste from the plant which inevitably would contain the highly toxic dioxins which have been proved to be responsible for birth defects and cancer.
Until a safe method of disposal of these toxins can be tried, tested and proved to be effective, the proposed introduction of incinerators should be considered with the utmost caution. I've Googled an article from the Lynn News, giving key ojections:

annodomini Mon 01-Oct-12 23:28:25

PS I lived near King's Lynn for some time in the 70s-80s and if I was still there I'd be among the people campaigning against this measure. The proposal for Stockport was never seriously considered.

NfkDumpling Tue 02-Oct-12 08:42:15

The stuff which comes out of the chimney isn't too healthy either and a big problem in my mind is the lack of checks and the the fact they can't be turned down or off if they run out of rubbish with increased recycling.
I know that Leeds are now fighting one that's proposed there. Ipswich seems to have lost. Cambridge have a system which is completely sealed - no chimney, and produces useable compost.
Each is only considered locally, covered only in local press, the enormously high rate of objections in each area just hasn't generated any interested in national media whatsoever. It's a political hot potato which is being purposefully ignored. Makes me wonder what else is being hidden from us.

JessM Tue 02-Oct-12 08:48:09

None of us want a factory chimney near us.
But what are we going to do with our waste? I'm sure despite composting and recycling most of us end up throwing away a bag of other plastic bits and pieces etc every week or so. It is quite difficult to shop without accumulating any of this stuff.
Landfill is the only other option for disposing of this non compostable, non-reclylable waste. And the existing land is pretty well under use already.

NfkDumpling Tue 02-Oct-12 09:14:12

It's not just a factory chimney and landfill is far from the only option. Incinerators are now old technology. It is the cheapest method, or 'best value for money' at first glance but the cost to the environment and health is hidden.
Other methods such increased recycling, Anaerobic Digestion, Gasification, Mechanical Biological Treatment are enclosed systems. They are non polluting and produce energy. Lip service has been given to recycling but I don't think councils were expecting it to take off the way it has. In Europe 85% recycling in some areas is the norm. Incinerators have to burn at full power 365 days a year. They cannot be turned down. Rubbish has to be found to feed them. And that's without the problem of disposing of bottom ash.
We are being kept in the dark about the alternatives.

JessM Tue 02-Oct-12 12:37:59

All of those options only work with biodegradable waste though don't they? We already separate out garden and food waste. And glass. And paper and lots of plastic objects. There is still stuff left - things like polystyrene trays that came with food. It would be quite hard to shop without accumulating any of this stuff. So for those things there is no other options other than landfill or incinerate?
I would favour much stricter packaging law that would help recycling. But you would still have some waste.

annodomini Tue 02-Oct-12 12:50:59

Out recyclables go to a waste recovery plant. Polystyrene cannot be recycled, but I notice a reduction in products packaged in this substance. If you are interested, JessM, this web page
will tell you more about it.

Nanadogsbody Tue 02-Oct-12 12:54:36

I'm a bit obsessional when it comes to packaging. I don't buy any pre-packed food or on the odd occasion when there's no alternative I leave the packaging at the customer services desk!! grin

NfkDumpling Tue 02-Oct-12 21:27:40

Apparently there are now methods coming into products which can turn polystyrene into polygel which can then be reused. Also I think plasma gasification can dispose of most things without pollution, or so is claimed. I just think that tying us into burning everything for the next twenty five years isn't the way to go.

JessM Wed 03-Oct-12 07:08:32

Just been reading the wiki entry on plasma gasification. Interesting. Sounds expensive to build. Also it produces toxic waste water and loads of Co2
There are no good or cheap solutions are there. I think improved legislation is the best way - but none of the main political parties seem very interested in the environment at the moment.

Nanadogsbody Wed 03-Oct-12 08:00:26

nfk this is very worrying for you. When I lived in a little village on the west coast an incinerator was proposed there and I know how we all felt. It was successfully opposed by us and the local farming community. The landowner withdrew his application after fiece local opposition, but then started buying up farmland when it became available. I suspect he will make a new application some time in the future.

Plasma gasification and other waste disposal methods are still in their infancy but there is quite a lot of research going on into what will be a lucerative investment. Carbon dioxide can be sequestered and not released into the atmosphere, and often other waste products can be rendered non toxic.

All I can suggest is that you fight it with a local campaign and see what restrictions apply to the building of incinerators and if you can find some local loophole as we did. We started by finding a local councillor who opposed the application, was willing to fight it with us took it from there. Good luck sunshine

NfkDumpling Wed 03-Oct-12 08:11:44

Oh, it's being wheel opposed! See Only the CountyCouncil are still in favour and democracy has gone out of the window. It's been called in now so it's all down to Eric Pickles. Either way it's going to cost us a fortune.

JessM Wed 03-Oct-12 08:17:34

Oh Eric, "localism", Pickles. hmm
It is difficult in part I guess because it is not the case of community x being asked - which of the following do you want on your doorstep - an incinerator or a big landfill, which obliterates countryside and of course with the lorries etc that go with both options. Because community y will get the landfill.
I can fully appreciate why nobody welcomes either of these near their home sad

Nanadogsbody Wed 03-Oct-12 12:59:15

Oops nfk touch of the 'teach your granny to suck eggs'! wink sorry.
This looks like a well organised campaign and at least you have a public enquiry coming up. All I can do is wish you good luck again.