Hammersmith environmental issue

Say no to incinerators

HFFOE urge residents to oppose plans to build the biggest incinerator in the UK

Cory Environmental Limited (the current waste disposal agency) have had messages of opposition from the GLA (Greater London Authority), residents, councillors and the local MP for a new incinerator to be build in Belvedere. This is the third time in 12 years that the residents of Belvedere have faced a proposal for an incinerator.

If built, the incinerator would be the biggest in the UK with a capacity to deal with over 800,000 tonnes of waste per year. Moreover, the incinerator would burn waste from the West London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth and Wandsworth.

This incinerator is opposed for a variety of reasons:
· Air pollution: People are concerned about the potential impact incineration may have on their health. Although modern incinerators are designed to reduce polluting emissions, they still emit chemicals that cause concern. Smoke, gases and toxic ash can contain dioxins which are harmful even at very low levels. Dioxins are known to cause cancer. Toxic ash from the burning also needs to be disposed of in landfill sites, where it can release harmful chemicals into rivers and streams to pollute the water table.

· Waste creation: Rather than reduce waste, incinerators can actually create a demand for it. They need a minimum amount of waste to operate, and a long term supply to make a profit on the plant's investment. Building an incinerator demands long-term waste delivery because it takes 15-25 years for a waste management company to make a return on their capital investment; the contract between a council and a waste management company requires the council to provide an agreed amount of waste for at least 25 years. Many incinerators will not actually be used to their full capacity in the very near future as increased recycling targets kick in. If local authorities don't think wisely now, they could end up with big problem on their hands. Indeed some councils have had to meet this demand by bringing in waste from other areas and have abandoned plans to reduce and recycle.

· It doesn't save energy: The incinerator is promoted as a "waste to energy" plant because they can generate electricity. But it is not an energy saving option. Reusing waste and recycling saves more energy because it means that fewer new products have to be made and fewer raw materials have to be used.

Karen Rogers, Waste Campaigner at Hammersmith and Fulham Friends of the Earth said:
"The Bexley Communitiy are fighting vigorously to prevent this incinerator being built to burn our waste. They are deeply worried about the potential impacts on their health and recognise that burning our waste is harmful to the environment. The Government must get to grips with this problem by calling a halt to new incinerators, reducing waste and dramatically improving our record on recycling."

HFFOE is asking residents to send letters (objections can still be sent until the end of September) to The Programme Officer, Belvedere Public Inquiry, Marriott Hotel, 1 Broadway, Bexleyheath, DA6 7JZ. Your letter of Evidence does not need to be technical; a short statement saying you object because of, for instance, existing asthma rates is enough to count.

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