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14 Jul 2014
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Opposition to Incinerators is Rising
by Roger Harrabin
Research for this programme has revealed a growing wave of public opposition to incinerators.

Since the start of last year, seven out of 12 planning applications for incinerators round the country have been turned down by local councils after fierce local opposition. This reverses the previous trend when the majority of applications were approved.

Waste policy is fast becoming a deeply uncomfortable issue for the government. Councils have been told by the European Union to reduce the amount of household waste sent to landfill to a third by 2020 but they're lagging so badly that Britain will face large fines unless they radically improve.

Ministers had expected new incinerators to take up much of the waste currently sent to landfill - but our research shows that growing public animosity may reduce this option or ultimately remove it altogether. Friends of the Earth say they have more calls on incineration than any other issue.

Opposition is also mounting to other waste options. A major row over a large composting site bringing lorries and possibly unpleasant odours to the village of Longham in Norfolk is seen as a precursor of nationwide composting battles to come.

The Prime Minister's think tank will report in the autumn on its ideas for getting Britain out of the mess on waste. It's a massive problem for the government which provoked anger in the Press after a leak of a Downing Street suggestion that people should be charged by the bag to have their rubbish taken away.

BBC RESEARCH SURVEY OF INCINERATORS IN THE UK

 PLANNING APPROVED 


Plant name District Capacity (tpa) Date
Under Construction      
Kirklees Kirklees 135,000 Apr 98
Chineham Baskingstoke and Deane 90,000 Jan 00
Crymlyn Burrows Neath Port Talbot 35,000 Summer 00
Approved but not yet constructed      
Allington Maidstone 500,000 Nov 99
Colnbrook, Slough Slough 400,000 Autumn 00
Marchwood New Forest 165,000 Spring 01
Grimsby (Stallingborough) North East Lincolnshire 55,000 Spring 01
South Portsmouth Portsmouth 165,000 Nov 01
Cleveland B (Haverton Hill) Stockton-on-Tees 130,000 Jul 00
Derby Gasifier Derby 50,000 Apr 02
Capel Surrey Mole Valley 110,000 Dec01
TOTAL   1,835,000  


  PLANNING REFUSED

Plant name District Capacity (tpa) Date
Planning Refused      
Redhill Reigate and Banstead Borough Council 215,000 Dec 01
Ridham Dock Swale District Council 225,000 Oct 01
Kidderminster Worcestershire County Council 150,000 Apr 01
Hull City of Hull 165,000 Dec 01
Richborough Kent CC 150,000 Jul 01
Slyfield Guildford 225,000 Dec 01
Edmonton B Enfield 300,000 May 02
TOTAL   1,430,000  


(Sources: Commons Research Paper 02/34 and Friends of the Earth)

According to these figures, then, ten were approved and seven were refused.

In terms of capacity (measured in tonnes per annum), this translates to 1,835,000 approved and 1,430,000 refused. In other words, nearly 45% of planning applications have been refused (in capacity terms).

At least 35 new incinerators are being proposed across England and Wales as part of various local authorities' Waste Local Plans, but - given the reluctance with which local authorities seem to be granting planning permission for such projects - it would appear that many of these incinerators are unlikely to gain planning approval. There has been a noticeable swing away from approvals in the past year.

LINKS
Britain Fails to Recycle Enough Waste UK Waste Summit


An incinerator near Pontypool.
An incinerator near Pontypool.
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