‘Here’s why we don’t need an incinerator’ . . .
2nd November 2010 - the following article is reproduced by kind permission of Lynn News
A MECHANICAL Biological Treatment plant is the answer to Norfolk’s rubbish woes, according to anti-incinerator campaigners.
Protesters against plans for a £150 million incinerator at Saddlebow in Lynn say an MBT facility – like the one in nearby Cambridgeshire – is a much better alternative to incineration.
They have accused Norfolk County Council of failing to look into the method properly, saying bosses are going “gung ho” for an incinerator regardless of anything.
The £42 million Donarbon MBT plant at Waterbeach, near Cambridge, opened last November after Cambridgeshire County Council rejected incinerator proposals.
It works by taking all the county’s ‘black bag’ waste (120,000 tonnes a year), that had been going to landfill, and using some of the latest technology, separates out items for recycling and composting.
Around 25 per cent of the waste, including plastic bottles, metals, steel, aluminium and glass is taken out for recycling.
The remainder, mainly paper, cardboard, food and garden waste, is shredded and taken to two massive composting halls, where after seven weeks a compost-like material is produced.
Most of it is stored for use, but as it is mixed waste it can’t be used by farmers or the public and about a third of it still has to go to landfill.
Donarbon’s development director Sarah Clover said: “Although some waste still has to go to landfill, we estimate that there is a 75 per cent diversion from landfill overall.”
She also said there are plans to use the compost waste for fuel to power the plant and homes within the next three years.
She also said incineration had its “part to play” in dealing with waste, but mass burning misses out on the potential for extra recycling.
Leading anti-incinerator campaigner Richard Burton, an environmental consultant from Clenchwarton, said: “MBTs are much better for climate change.
“They can be done on a smaller scale too.
“You could have two or three across Norfolk which would cut down on traffic, cut emissions and provide a lot more jobs.
“They are better on almost every count.”
He also said Norfolk’s plans for an incinerator go against government policy which states that authorities should only have an incinerator where local people want it.“The government recognises there is public concern over incineration and its most preferable technology when dealing with waste in anaerobic digestion (the biological part of MBT).”
Fellow protester Christine Hall, from St Germans, said Norfolk could have three MBTs for the price of the incinerator, and there would be financial returns from the recycled materials.
A county council spokesman pointed out that the authority had not chosen an incinerator, any more than it has excluded MBT or other processes such as plasma gasification.
“Our procurement has been process-neutral – we simply set out what we wanted a treatment facility to achieve and allowed the industry to come forward with competitive proposals.
“We would have been perfectly happy for a different process to come forward if it had also been shown to have performed as well after undergoing objective assessment. “As it happened, the best performing proposals on the shortlist were both for the same type of energy from waste incineration process.”