Council will get burnt by incinerator plan

Green PartyThe Council has one last chance to protect its high recycling rates and avoid saddling the taxpayers with 25 years of debt, says York Green Party. The Council has walked blindly into a waste incinerator project, but can still do the right thing for taxpayers, health and the planet.

The City of York Council has for 8 years been in a ‘Municipal Waste Partnership’ with North Yorkshire County Council. This period has seen York Councillors taking a back seat whilst officers drew up plans with private waste contractors, protected by commercial confidentiality, according to the Greens.

Green Group leader Councillor Andy D’Agorne says, “From day one, this project has been about building an incinerator. The first consultation back in 2006 did not offer residents the option of not having an incinerator. And despite the Lib-Dems national policies against incinerators and in favour of ‘Zero-waste’ strategies[1], York’s ruling Councillors have been content to be led into this by their superiors at North Yorkshire.”

York Green Party has written to every member of the Joint Municipal Waste Partnership. In the letter, they spell out their objections to the “archaic” technology of incineration, the proposed siting near a Grade I listing building, and their concerns about the possibility that having commissioned an incinerator, recycling rates will plummet, as happened in Nottingham and Sheffield. Sheffield now has to negotiate efforts to improve recycling with the operators of their incinerator, Veolia[2].

“Other Councils such as Milton Keynes and Lancashire have ruled out using incineration in their waste policy. Incineration has proven again and again to be costly, polluting and deeply unpopular – and to undermine waste reduction and recycling. As a method of energy generation it is absurd. It would be far more cost effective to invest in energy conservation and renewables than building inefficient plants to dispose of material we didn’t need to produce in the first place.”

York Green Party will be running an incinerator game at the Fulford Show on Monday August 30th to publicise the choice that is now facing the Council.

“The current proposals include genuinely positively technologies such as Anaerobic Digestion and MBT. If York could finally take a proactive role in the ‘Partnership’ then we could unleash these technologies to their full potential and avoid the need for a £900 million incinerator,” said Councillor D’Agorne.

      [1] See page 8 of the Liberal Democrat Environment Manifesto and page 10 of the Our Natural Heritage manifesto. Liberal Democrat groups and Councillors have campaigned against planned incinerators in Dovesdale, Wiltshire, Plymouth, Bedford, Marston Vale, Bardon, Suffolk, Widnes and many more places.
      [2] After a concerted effort to improve its very low levels of recycling, Sheffield Council had to import trade waste to feed their incinerator (part of the Yorkshire plan). This did not work well. Link.

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