Monday, 30 May 2011

NO2Incinerator will be at this community event

The NO2Incinerator campaign will be  at this community event to spread the word on the REDUCE, RE-USED and RECYCLE and to join in the fun.

We will be collecting footprints for our STAMP IT OUT art installation campaign, handing out balloons and publicity material and lollipops and hoping to interest both children and their in this important matter for all our futures.

Come along and enjoy the fun events, the result of some excellent work from the Extended Services team.

We are expecting a great time to be had by all.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Veolia seeks to combat Sheffield EfW shortfall

Incinerator Sheffield
One of the 2 remaining companies trying to win Leeds City Council’s contract to build an incinerator is Veolia. Veolia runs an EfW plant in Sheffield which has been operational since 2007. The company is now seeking to vary its planning permission for this plant to allow it to source 50,000 tonnes of residual waste from surrounding councils to make up the shortfall at the 250,000 tonnes a year plant following concerns about future under-capacity. The contract was signed in 2001 and already changes in people’s behaviour, increased recycling and an economic downturn is having a detrimental effect on the operation of the plant.

We have said all along that the proposed 160,000 tonnes Leeds incinerator, to be built under a PFI contract lasting as least 25 years, would be subject to the same commercial pressures and we have stated again and again our firm belief that if it became necessary the planning permissions under which such a plant should operate would be varied in order to keep the facility viable. When this concern was raised at the Richmond Hill Forum it was vigorously denied by the then council leader, Cllr Richard Brett (Lib Dem – Richmond Hill), but he did allow that there was provision for a 1% of waste to come from outside the area to cover areas which whilst not in the municipal area of Leeds which still had waste collection controlled by Leeds City Council. We however were not then, and are not now, convinced by these assurances since if this hugely expensive contract were to be signed the council would have no choice but to go along with any changes which the operator wanted or face having the plant closed or running at a substantial loss.

Our suspicions on this matter seemed to be confirmed when we realised that the Jacobs Report, which identified the four sites finally put forward for this project scored all the sites examined for access by road, rail and canal which pretty well ensured that the lower Aire Valley would be home to whichever site was finally selected. Why would bin wagons need either rail or canal access?

We have repeatedly pointed out the fast changing type and amount of waste across our city. We have stated plainly that inevitable future changes in the amount of waste available for incineration will affect the viability of any such plant thereby making it inevitable that waste would have to be imported to fill the shortfall if a combination of regulation, education and recycling succeed in lowering residual waste across the city as seems likely.

The Sheffield project has seen a huge change in its waste stream in just 10 years resulting in it needing to import waste from surrounding areas, the contract for the Leeds Municipal incinerator is planned for at least 25 years so it seems likely to us that whatever the assurances now it is likely that we too will end up shipping in waste from other areas to keep this municipal millstone from crushing us.

The Leeds City Councillors must stop, think and re-evaluate this project.

• Yes we have to deal with municipal waste.

• No we cannot keep sending so much to landfill.

• This technology, financed in this way, is not the answer.

Incineration does not make waste magically disappear it simply reduces the amount of waste to roughly one third but an amount of the ash produced by this process is extremely toxic and requires specialist disposal.

The costs to Leeds Council Tax payers involved in buying this seemingly quick solution to a very difficult and constantly evolving problem by buying an incinerator on the "never never" will burden our children and grandchildren and won’t solve the problem.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Well that's the election out of the way - now back to business

A nasty and rather bad-tempered bye-election campaign in our ward has resulted in a win for Asghar Khan, the Labour Party candidate.

Both of the parties likely to win here tried to use the anti-incinerator campaign to their advantage but neither would rule out the possibility of an incinerator here in the end.

We have been told by the winner Asghar Khan that he is personally not in favour of an incinerator at Cross Green but then neither are the Lib Dems, hardly surprising really since any other statement would have guaranteed the loss of a huge numbers of votes locally as they must surely have heard the very strong and vocal opposition here to the plan. 
However we may still end up with a plant there or at Knostrop even if all the councillors in this ward and most in the wards surrounding that are likely to be directly affected don’t agree because at the end of the day it will be the decision of the whole council which will decide the matter and other councillor’s first concern may very well be “well so long as they don’t build it in my nice area, what does it matter?”

We are repeatedly told that this is/was a heavily industrialised area in the past so does this mean that the not inconsiderable numbers of people currently packed into this area don’t count? Can you put what you like here now regardless of the effect on the area or its residents because these people have been treated badly in the past so it is alright to ignore them and dismiss their justifiable concerns now?

We, of course, don’t agree but this is not a NIMBY issue for us, we don’t want to inflict an incinerator on any other area of the city either nor do we don’t want to mire ourselves, our children or our grandchildren in debt paying for an outdated technology to burn scarce and valuable resources in an unsustainable way.

We ourselves have suggested several schemes to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE waste together with schemes to get more kerbside collections of specific waste streams with a carrot and stick approach which would reduce even further the amount of waste which would have to be burned or sent to landfill.

We know that the Lib Dems spent almost £1M in getting the project to May 2009 (FOI request) and they themselves say that the Labour controlled council has or is going to spend £1M, though they don't provide proof of this figure, but with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (trying to stop the contract going to Veolia) raising legal questions and the chance that Veolia will appeal if stopped from bidding this whole thing could end up costing the Council Tax payers of Leeds a not so small fortune trying to back what we are totally convinced is the wrong horse.

Despite the fact that the plans are well advanced and that huge amounts of money have already been spent we feel that this is the wrong option financed in the wrong way and we will keep on campaigning to stop this expensive mistake from being made.

It is our hope that now the bye-election is over that this matter can be discussed in a more adult and sensible way. NO2Incinerator is not FOR or AGAINST Labour; it is not FOR or AGAINST the Lib Dems it is AGAINST INCINERATION! We will not stop our campaign on this matter, despite attempts to put pressure on us, to do so.  We will continue to gather information, publish views on this subject and hope to change the minds of those with the power to stop this project since we firmly believe, on so many different levels, that incineration is a 19th century technology that does not hold the solution to the 21st century's waste problem in the long term.