YAWN!  Not another consultation on waste!  We’ve had ten since Slyfield.  If the politicians haven’t got the message by now they never will…

Incineration: “NO THANK YOU” … Recycling: “YES PLEASE”…  Blaa, blaa, blaa…


WAKE UP!  Don’t let them grind you down.  THIS IS THE BIG ONE!  A statutory consultation on the Waste Plan, which runs until 12 December, will decide whether Surrey gets incinerators (probably about four) or not. 

The Plan proposes an enormous county waste facility at Slyfield, possible incinerators at Wisley and Woking, and potentially an incinerator at the sewage works at Slyfield.


In all ten consultations to date, residents have responded in great numbers calling for more recycling and composting facilities and an incinerator-free approach.  There have now been an astounding 85,000 objections to incineration in Surrey.  Great progress has been made.

·                    GAIN and Guildford Borough Council called for a 60% recycling and composting target.

·                    This is now the target being used by the Government and the Region for 2025.


·                    GAIN called for major improvements to Civic Amenity sites such as Slyfield.

·                    Government assessed Surrey’s Civic Amenity sites, found them to be amongst the worst in England and called for improvements in these facilities that would result in savings of over £6.3 million by 2021.


·                    GAIN and GBC promoted an incinerator-free approach.

·                    Incinerator-free methods have come out as the best environmental option and as feasible in formal assessments for the region and for Surrey.


In spite of all this, Surrey County Council is stubbornly promoting incineration in Surrey.  This is partly because the County has got itself caught up in a contract with SITA to build two incinerators.  However, the contract is so out of date that it falls far short of even current waste targets and Government has advised that any contracts that do not comply with modern standards should be reviewed and changed.


Surrey appears to be finding renegotiating the contract hard.  The concern is that they might think hoodwinking and bullying the public into accepting incineration is easier.  Their latest consultation does not present clear and open choices on matters such as incineration.  Instead, it asks whether the public supports recycling and moving away from landfilling to “treatment in other ways“.  It does not explain that a vote for “other ways” would in effect be a vote for Surrey’s favoured option of incineration.  Surrey is running a PR campaign trying to persuade residents that incineration is safe and the only practical option (because of the contract).


Surrey has failed to address any of the following concerns about incineration.

·                    Even modern incinerators have very poor records on emissions. (Breaches, fires. turned off filters are well documented.)

·                    Studies only look at what could be achieved by incinerators under ideal operating conditions with clean waste and not at how they operate in practice with rubbish that is a very tricky material to deal with.  

·                    Surrey has problems meeting air quality standards for NO2 and NOX and incinerators would add significantly to this pollution.

·                    Incinerators produces toxic ash as a result of the burning process itself for which a hazardous landfill site would have to be found in Surrey

·                    Incinerators would draw in waste from London

·                    Large incinerators would result in a lot of waste being hauled to a small number of sites across the county rather than treating waste in local facilities as residents voted for.

·                    60% of Surrey’s waste is biodegradable and 80% is recyclable.  The material left after maximum recycling and composting does not lend itself to burning.  It could be pretreated for stable landfill.

·                    Biological treatment would be much better suited to Surrey’s waste and energy could be produced from the captured gas.      


If you would like to comment on the Surrey Waste Plan leaflets are available on GAIN stalls on the High Street and at Sainsbury in Burpham at weekends during the consultation period. 

You can comment online by using the link on the previous page.