]
Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

H&I Greens Condemn Highland Council Plan to Introduce Waste Incineration by the Back Door

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Highlands and Islands Greens have today condemned the Highland Council’s provision in its proposed Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan (1) for an energy-from-waste plant at Former Landfill Longman site, claiming it as introducing waste incineration ‘by the back door’.

“The SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors on the Highland Council have colluded to impose an energy-from-waste plant on Inverness by the devious means of burying an extremely brief but specific provision for this controversial technology deep within its proposed Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan” said Neil Hornsby, Highlands and Islands Greens’ campaigns co-ordinator.

“The Councillors’ statement that the site is “particularly suited to waste management facilities including an Energy-from-Waste facility” provides a green light to anyone wishing to bring waste incineration to the heart of Inverness.

“If this provision for an energy-from-waste plant at Longman does appear in the final Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan, no-one will then be able to make an ‘in principle’ objection to any subsequent planning application for an energy-from-waste plant at this site. That would be unacceptable.

“This issue as huge implications for the Council’s Highland-wide waste management strategy. To justify this contentious measure on the basis of a few words is wholly unacceptable.

“If SNP/Labour and Liberal Democrats really believe that an energy-from-waste plant should be sited at the Longman Landfill site, then they should be open about it and initiate a full public consultation. They should set out their case for the idea, and address the full environmental, social and economic implications of their plan.

“Furthermore, the Council has directly ignored the responses to their earlier consultation on the Plan (3), which said, in relation to the incinerator suggestion, that “…most respondents were not in support due concerns about the potential impact it may have on the environment and wildlife”.

“Highland and Islands Greens are fundamentally opposed to waste incineration mainly because some toxic materials might not be consumed by the incineration process, and may then escape into the air and surrounding environment. Furthermore, to be economic, incinerators require significant and constant inflows of waste, which can therefore seriously undermine recycling programmes. (2)

“Highland and Islands Greens therefore urge all Community Councils, residents and businesses to register their total opposition to the Councillors’ horrendous plans.

Notes

1. The Highland Council’s Inner Moray Firth Proposed Local Development Plan is at: http://www.highland.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/F2ADFDA7-2058-450F-8078-414959F75F32/0/WFinalIMFLDPProposedPlan_REDUCED.pdf
IN 13 (page 40) Former Landfill Longman site reads: “Particularly suited to waste management facilities including an Energy from Waste facility.”

2. H&I Greens are fundamentally opposed to waste incineration/energy-from waste because:
(i) not all toxic materials are removed in the incineration process, and can escape into the air and surrounding environment:
(ii) to be economic, incinerators require significant and constant inflows of waste, which can therefore affect recycling rates. See also Q&A below.

3. The Council have also published their analysis of the responses to the earlier round of consultation the IMFPLDP. In relation to the incinerator issue, this analysis says, on page 74*: There was general support for maintaining the industrial and business uses within the Longman Industrial Estate. The response on I4 particularly focused on the incinerator, which most respondents were not in support of due concerns about the potential impact it may have on the environment and wildlife. There was also support for the potential for the sites I4 and MU21 to be safeguarded as valuable green space. 
*-see : http://www.highland.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/39012CDA-2EE8-4D25-8852-A60B3EC7607C/0/Sch4WholeFinal_9sept.pdf

********************************
Waste incineration Q&A

What is incineration?: An attempt to dispose of waste by burning it.

Does it work?:Nothing can just be destroyed. High temperature incineration changes ordinary waste into exhaust gases and ash. The gas gets carried around the neighbourhood in the air, and then the ash – still a significant proportion of the original waste – has to be buried or used for something else.

Is it safe?: Incinerators are supposed to work at a high enough temperature that toxic materials should be converted to safe chemicals – but this depends on the toxins – not all toxins are burnable, and the process isn’t 100% effective for those that are. Incinerators are allowed to emit small quantities of specific toxins and their output of these is monitored – but there are no tests for unknown toxins produced by burning new or unknown waste materials.

Does it produce energy?Some incineration schemes produce electricity or heat for other uses. But power is needed to dry the waste before it can be burned. Once the various energy costs are added up, some incinerators use more power than they produce, but none are an effective investment compared with new renewable energy.

Does incineration work with recycling?: Not entirely; where some incinerators have been built recycling rates have gone down, because existing regulations only require diversion from landfill. Councils see it as an alternative to recycling.