Friday 30 September 2005
Waste campaign takes to the road
A ROAD show encouraging shoppers to limit their household waste will be visiting supermarkets and shopping centres across the county from Monday.
This is the second phase of Surrey County Council's waste campaign; It's About Time, aimed at promoting sustainable shopping.
Staff will be on hand in various locations including the Friary in Guildford, and Sainsbury's,
Burpham to show the public how to “shop smart” as well as urging onlookers to do just one thing to help make a difference.
Reusable cotton bags, a sustainable shopping guide and other information will also be available to help inspire people to get started with recycling.
Marianne Cole, Surrey County Council's waste projects officer, said: "We are visiting supermarkets and shopping centres with It’s About Time to continue to encourage Surrey residents to firstly stop and think about the waste they create and then to raise awareness of how we can all change our behaviour."
“'Shopping smart' is set to help reduce the 580,000 tonnes of household waste created each year in Surrey. Nearly 80% of the average household bin is reusable, recyclable or compostable. We can offer a host of tips on how the public can truly help their local and global environment."
For further information, visit – www.surreywaste.info
© Surrey Advertiser Group
County's new chief executive praises its record on services
A new chief executive has been appointed by Surrey County Council.
Dr Richard Shaw will join from Oxfordshire County Council.
He previously held roles at the Department for Environment and at Surrey County Council, where he was director for environment for four years.
Before this he worked in the teaching profession.
Dr Shaw will take up the role subject to ratification of the appointment at a special council meeting on September 21.
He said "Surrey is a forward thinking authority which has an excellent reputation for delivering services. I look forward to working with the talented team of staff and councillors to maintain and improve the good work being done for the people and communities of Surrey".
Dr Shaw will succeed Paul Coen, who will leave Surrey at the end of the year after nine years service. He is taking over as chief executive at Essex County Council.
Thursday 29 July 2004
Regional assembly chairman makes it a treble
The chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) has been re-elected for the third time.
Councillor Nick Skellett, leader of Surrey County Council, was re-elected at the assembly's plenary meeting at Gatwick last week.
Mr Skellett said: "As we enter this vital stage in the preparation, of the South East Plan, a vision for the region through to 2026, it is very important that we have continuity.
"I'm very pleased that the members have shown their support of my chairmanship.
Mr Skellett has been leader of Surrey County Council since May 1997 and a Conservative
councillor since 1993.
Don Turner, Labour councillor for Brighton and Hove City Council, who sits on the assembly's executive committee and the regional housing board, was also re-elected as deputy chairman of the assembly.
He said: "I am delighted to be given this opportunity to continue the work we have started and look forward to meeting the forthcoming challenges.
"I'd like to thank my colleagues in the assembly for their continued support."
Janet Keene of the South East Regional Trade Unions Congress (SERTUC) became a
Vice-chairman, representing economic partners, and Ian Chisnall a vice-chairman, representing social and environmental partners.
They join existing vice-chairmen Councillor Cec Tallack (Lib-Dem), and Councillor Alan
Hopkins (Ind) on the assembly's board.
MEMBERS of the Guildford Anti-Incinerator Network (GAIN) have criticised the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) for continuing to back incinerators as the best way of solving the region's waste problems.
The pressure group has delivered its written response to the amended regional planning guidance produced by SEERA, criticising the organisation for putting forward proposals that could lead to up to 23 incinerators across the South East.
Colin Matthews, chairman of GAIN, said: "It is shocking that SEERA is still advocating this outdated and unnecessary technology. "Residents clearly want an incinerator-free approach based on recycling and composting, which SEERA’s own waste strategy confirms is feasible."
GAIN criticises SEERA’s waste policies for including waste imports from London and said incineration is unpopular because of concerns over dioxin and particle emissions, the landfilling of hazardous ash, poor safety controls and the burning of resources, which could be reused, recycled or composted.
Mr. Matthews said: 'There have been more than 81,000 objections to incineration in Surrey alone and yet SEERA is claiming public: support for incineration based on the misinterpreted findings of a MORI survey involving just 800 people from across South East England."
He added: 'Surrey residents are in a strong position to influence SEERA because Cllr Nick Skellett, leader of Surrey County Council, is its chairman. Also, the officers working to impose incineration are based at SEERA’s headquarters in Guildford.
David Payne, regional planner at SEERA said: "The assembly needs to address the South East's waste problem before it becomes unmanageable. Failure to do so will bring the risk of increasing financial penalties.
"Although people are recycling more and more, which is encouraging, we need to provide for alternative ways to manage our waste that cannot be recycled.”
From May this year, an international ban on Persistent Organic Pollutants or 'POPs' will come into force. France became the 50th signatory of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in February this year, enabling the treaty to enter into force later in the spring. As a result, 11 of the 12 chemicals outlined in the original Convention will be banned, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and several pesticides. There are provisions to add further chemicals to the list in future, and such expansion will be listed at the first Conference of the Parties to the Convention, taking place in Uruguay early next year.
The US is still absent from the list of parties to the Stockholm Convention; although it signed the treaty in May 2001, there remains considerable disagreement about how to amend existing laws to implement it. Legislation proposed by the Bush Administration would create burdensome new administrative and cost-benefit requirements, complicating the regulation of any chemicals added to the treaty later. Environmental and public health groups have expressed their desire to get the US 'on-board' with the Convention, but to do so in a way that fully and effectively implements the treaty.
SCC Resolution on Capel Incinerator Plan Quashed By High Court
Having been denied a Public Inquiry, the Capel Action Group opposed to municipal waste incineration was this week given its long-awaited Judicial Review of a Resolution of the Surrey County Council Planning and Regulatory Committee, passed on 6th December 2001, to grant planning permission for the construction of a 110,000 t.p.a. mass-burn, municipal-waste incinerator near Capel on land classed as Countryside Beyond the Green Belt.
The Resolution to grant planning permission was confirmed to be legally flawed and has been quashed by the High Court.
A determining factor for the judge was that the proposed site had no previous waste use. It is a former mineral working (clay pit). SCC should not have supported the building of an incinerator on such a site.
Attention News Editors 1st July 2002
Thames Waste Management Ltd (TWM) has decided not to appeal the refusal to grant planning permission for its proposed Integrated Waste Management Centre at the Slyfield Industrial Estate, Guildford.
Surrey County Council refused planning permission in December 2001. Under the rules covering planning appeals. TWM had until 8th July 2002 to determine whether to appeal to the Government.
Brian Howard, Managing Director of TWM said,
"We were naturally disappointed when planning permission was refused. However, the planning process demonstrated that in many ways the Slyfield site is technically suitable for waste management activities.
"It is clear that there are not enough waste management facilities in Surrey to deal with the ever increasing volume of waste being produced in the county, or to meet the Government's targets for diversion of waste from landfill. We will maintain a keen interest in the provision of waste management services in the county. When it is clear what facilities are needed, the development potential of the Slyfield site will be re-considered to see what part it could play."
For further information contact Ruth Roll on Tel 01327 844074 or Fax 01327 844075.
Dateline: Monday 17th June, 2002.
Greenpeace, together with an alliance of anti-incineration activists from all over Britain, have stopped construction of the Chineham incinerator near Basingstoke.
At approximately 6:30am this morning, some 100 protestors representing anti-incineration campaigns from all over Britain, took direct action as part of a global protest against incineration, by moving onto the Chineham incinerator site en-masse. Three separate groups of volunteers then climbed to the top of the incinerator and occupied the roof-tops, unfurling a colourful selection of banners along the north face of the site, bearing a range of anti-incinerator messages.
Some protesters strapped themselves into cargo nets, suspended from the unfinished third roof. Other protesters climbed crane equipment and parts of the building substructure. Others even chained themselves to fixtures and railings.
Shortly after 8:00am, Greenpeace issued a Press Release. In it, Greenpeace stated that the Chineham incinerator is just one of of 43 incinerators currently under construction or in the planning stages, throughout Britain. They point out that if the incinerator opens, it will shower the people, animals and farmland of Hampshire with hundreds of toxic chemicals every day, contaminating local food such as milk and farm crops. These chemicals include heavy metals such as arsenic and cancer-causing dioxins - the most poisonous chemicals known to science. One in three of us already takes in more dioxins that the Governments own scientific advisers say is safe.
The news that Greenpeace had chosen the Chineham incinerator site for the national day of action was welcomed by the BBAC.
'As today is Global Anti-Incineration Day, the BBAC and its supporters had planned to visit the site in the afternoon, to show our concern over the massive size of the Chineham incinerator and to voice our continuing opposition to this ridiculous development', said Chris Tomblin, chairman of the BBAC and it's principle spokesman.
'We believe the application process to be fundamentally flawed and we continue to voice our very real health concerns regarding this application. Chineham previously had an incinerator for over 20 years, which is widely believed to be responsible for the contamination of soil with heavy metals and a background dioxin level higher than the most industrialised parts of large cities such as Birmingham'.
'Since the old incinerator was closed in 1996 for violations of EU emission standards, the housing development in Chineham has been greatly expanded, with the bulk of new residents being families with very young children. Hampshire County Council has even sanctioned the building of a new primary school less than half a mile from the incinerator site; a decision that defies common sense and makes a mockery of the concept of best practice.'
Protesters point out that a wide range of scientifically-proven alternatives such as industrial composting, together with more aggressive recycling campaigns render the idea of incineration as outdated, dirty, dangerous and in the long term, far more costly. They also point out that the mere presence of incineration facilities such as the one being built in Chineham will discourage further recycling initiatives, since clauses in the contract between Hampshire County Council and Onyx make the council financially liable for any shortfall in incineration throughput. 'The only problem with these alternatives is that they don't allow companies like Onyx to make huge profits at our expense', one protester commented. Another protester echoed this sentiment by wearing a T-shirt which read: "Only when the last tree is chopped down, the last river polluted and the last fish taken, will we realise that we can't eat money".
Basingstoke police, responded fairly promptly to the action with the first police appearance on site occurring at approximately 7:30am. During the next 6 hours police increased their presence but made no attempt to remove protesters, though they did attempt to restrict site access to both the media anti-incinerator campaigners on the ground. The mood between police and protesters remains good-natured however and as of 2:30pm no arrests have been made.
Construction workers on the site watched bemused from the sidelines, refusing to enter the site. Others watched the unfolding of events from inside the compound but took no action to move the protesters on. Shortly after 11:30am the bulk of the construction staff, realising that they would be unable to continue work, abandoned the construction site and withdrew to the car park.
Just after 1:00pm, Greenpeace activists unfurled a huge skull & crossbones banner over the west face of the construction site to the delight of campaigners on the ground and in full view of the media representatives present.
No spokesman from Hampshire Waste Services, the division of Onyx responsible for the construction of the Chineham incinerator was available for comment. Hampshire Waste Services have been criticised by the BBAC and local residents for their handling of the early viability studies on behalf of the Hampshire County Council, which many local residents believe constituted a conflict of interest and for their alleged failure to properly address health and safety issues in their application to operate the new incinerator (which has yet to be approved), made to the Environment Agency.
'We hope that today's action will be the first step in mobilising the general public to turn their backs on the whole concept of incineration, in favour of more sustainable and cleaner alternatives to the whole issue of municipal waste disposal', said one protester who added: 'it's not a matter of being a NIMBY...we don't want to see this in ANYONE'S back yard'.
The occupation of the Chineham Incinerator site continues...
Groups represented at the Chineham Incinerator Action
· Action for a Sustainable Bradford
· Ban the Burn
· Communities Against Toxics
· Derby Against Incineration
· Guildford Against Incineration
· Hull Against the Incinerator
· Reigate Community Waste Action Project
· Sandwich Action Group for the Environment
· Stop the Incinerator Campaign
· Zero Waste Alliance
Greenpeace says, "Ban the Burn"
From the highest point in Turkey's capital, Greenpeace activists unveiled a message for the Government of Turkey. Five activists from Holland, Lebanon, and Turkey abseiled down the 127 meter high Atakule tower and hung a 150 square meter banner that read, "Ban the Burn". The action in Ankara is part of the global actions in 52 countries against incineration technologies and coincides with the opening of the Stockholm Convention in Geneva which aims to eliminate the world's most toxic chemicals called persistent organic pollutants (POPs). (1)
During the action in Ankara, Greenpeace lawyers filed a lawsuit in Adapazari against the Ministry of Environment demanding that they cancel the operation permit of the Izmit Hazardous and Clinical Waste Incinerator in Izaydas. (2) Residents of Alikahya who face health hazards and displacement from their homes due to the operation of the Izaydas Clinical and Hazardous Waste incinerator were on hand to lend support to the Greenpeace actions. (3) They commented that they have already been victims of the toxins emitted by the incinerator and want the government to take action against the polluters.
"The Minister of Environment, Fevzi Aytekin, legalised a dirty technology by granting a license of operation to zaydas. This contradicts his 1998 letter sent to all the governors in Turkey stating that incineration is unsafe and expensive and that Turkey should move to other cleaner technologies. (4) We demand that the Minister cancel the permit and pass a national ban on all incineration in Turkey," said Banu Dokmecibasi, Toxics campaigner for Greenpeace Mediterranean.
To underscore its point, Greenpeace released a report on alternative technologies for hazardous waste disposal called, "Learning Not To Burn", prepared by the Chemical Weapons Working Group and Citizens Environmental
Coalition. The report looks at the alternatives to incineration technologies and gives case studies to back up their call for safer disposal of hazardous wastes. (5)
Incineration technology is shifting to clean solutions in many countries due to the hazards they create. The ebanese climber, Firas Fayad, who joined the action in Ankara said "We have been facing the problems created by
incineration in Lebanon but after a campaign led by Greenpeace to ban incineration led to the closure of two operating incinerators in 1997 with a clear statement of the MoE that incineration is not a solution to the waste problem. We have an international treaty now which when implemented, end the age of polluting incineration".
"The Ministry should understand that incineration is not a solution to waste problem. It allows industries to ignore their responsibility to safely dispose hazardous wastes by burning it, instead. Today's meeting in Geneva will be an opportunity for Turkey to ratify the convention on eliminating POPs at the source" said Dokmecibasi. (6)
1) Under the United Nation's Environmental Programme's Stockholm Convention, the world's leaders agreed to eliminate some of the most toxic chemicals in the environment called persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The international treaty aims to eliminate all POPS and lists twelve chemicals for priority action, the so-called 'dirty dozen'. The dirty dozen include intentionally produced chemicals such as pesticides (DDT) and PCBs, as well as by-products such as cancer-causing dioxins and furans that are released by industries that produce chlorinated chemicals, such PVC plastic, and from waste incinerators. A briefing paper on the Stockholm Convention is available upon request.
(2) In January 2001, Greenpeace obtained ashes from the incinerator and had them scientifically analysed. The results established the presence of highly carcinogenic chemicals such as dioxins and furans which are targeted
to be eliminated at source by the UNEP Stockholm Convention. The Greenpeace report of the analyses is available from the Greenpeace Mediterranean Office.
(3) 16,000 people living next to the incinerator will be directly affected by toxic emissions. A letter from the Ministry of Environment has already ordered the evacuation of all communities living within a three kilometre radius of the Izmit incinerator. This affects the communities of Alikahya (1 km away) and Solaklar villages (700 meters away). A copy of the official letter sent to the Alikahya Municipality by the Ministry of Environment is attached.
(4) A copy of the official declaration is available from the Greenpeace office.
(5) The summary and the original of the report is attached.
(6) The Minister of Environment, Fevzi Aytekin, signed the treaty in May 2001 after Greenpeace blocked the operation of the Izaydas incinerator for two days and demanded that the Minister sign the treaty and make a clear
statement about incineration in Turkey. The treaty was signed by 141 countries including Turkey and ratified by 9 countries.
For more information:
Banu Dokmecibasi, Toxics Campaigner for Greenpeace Mediterranean in Turkey: 0532 263 11 14.
Tolga Temuge in Istanbul, Campaigns Director: 0533 214 87 76.
Greenpeace Mediterranean Office in Istanbul: 0212 292 76 19-20
DOUG MORRISON and SHARON WARD
RECEIVERS are expected to be called in this week to Dundee's high profile waste-to-energy plant in what will be the first failure of a public and private sector project in Scotland.
It is understood that the main stakeholders in the stricken £342m incinerator plant at Baldovie were preparing this weekend to pull the plug on the project, which has never been fully operational since its launch two years ago.
The collapse of the Dundee Energy Recycling Ltd (DERL) incinerator will be a major embarrassment for Dundee City Council, an equity investor in the project, which had hailed it as pioneering solution to the city's energy requirements.
Key investors in DERL as well as representatives from Bank of Scotland and the Prudential, which provided loan finance for the joint venture, held a fraught meeting last week to determine the project's fate.
Sources in Dundee say construction group Balfour Beatty, a 20% shareholder in DERL, has become increasingly isolated from the rest of the investors because of its role in building the Baldovie plant.
Balfour Beatty was co-developer of the incinerator with Kvaerner but the British-Norwegian engineering group's involvement in the project cease when parts of the group were acquired by Australian investment group Macquarie in October 1999.
It is understood that at last week's meeting Balfour Beatty was given a Friday ultimatum, later extended to tomorrow, to come up with a solution to the plant's major technological problems. Balfour Beatty refused to comment.
However, sources in Dundee say it is now inevitable that receivers will be brought in by Bank of Scotland and the Prudential to conduct an independent review of DERL.
With conventional companies receivers attempt to preserve or sell the business as a going concern. But DERL's public and private sector status will likely involve receivers examining first whether the technology can be made to work and whether more money needs to be pumped into the project.
John McAllion, Labour MSP for Dundee, was dismayed to hear of the problems facing the plant.
He said: "We can't let this close, there's nowhere else to deal with the city's waste. It's a disgrace that the problems at the incinerator have been swept under the carpet. Everything has to be brought out into the open. This is far too important and I would like to hear all the implications of the recent setbacks, instead of being fed cover-up stories.
The scheme was the first of its kind in Scotland to be set up as a joint venture between a local authority and the private sector.
Dundee council owns 40% of the equity, with 20% held by Balfour Beatty, 20% by Macquarie Infrastructure Investments and the remainder owned by Barclays Capital.
The Dundee scheme differs from full-scale private finance initiatives in which an entire project is handed over to the private sector for design, build, ownership and operation on behalf of the local authority or public sector body.
ScottishPower, one of the original partners, withdrew after the plant failed to get government funding under the Scottish Renewables Obligation, a government energy policy to encourage and subsidise non-fossil fuel forms of energy.
The Dundee project has been dogged by delays and technology problems, exacerbated by two fires on site since its opening. There have also been complaints made by Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups about the level of emissions.
The failure of DERL is a major embarrassment for Dundee council. It was forced to close its previous rubbish incinerator at Baldovie in December 1996 because it failed to conform to the then newly introduced European Union regulations on emissions
The current incinerator was given the go-ahead in October 1997 and completed two years later.
The intention was for it to burn up to 120,000 tonnes of rubbish a year. Heat from the incinerator produced steam which in turn was to drive a turbine generator with the aim of producing eight megawatts of electricity, enough power for Dundee's street lights, schools and most of its public buildings.
The plant has been dogged with controversy over environmental and health concerns. In August last year, Scottish Executive ministers ruled out an investigation into emissions from the waste incinerator despite concerns about possible links with cancer cases.
Environmental campaigners wanted the Baldovie incinerator shut down because of fears it is linked to higher-than-average rates of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Malcolm Chisholm, the then deputy minister for health and community care, ruled out an inquiry, claiming the evidence was inconclusive.
"Large-scale municipal waste incinerators are dirty, dangerous and unnecessary," said Dr Richard Dixon of Friends of the Earth Scotland. "They should be banned, not subsidised."
The levels of dioxins emitted by Dundee's original Baldovie incinerator breached legal limits before its closure in 1996. It now seems the new plant is faced with the same problems.
Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups have highlighted problems at the new Baldovie incinerator, resulting in 20 separate breaches of safety limits reported to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency over emissions from the plant.
Courtesy of the Surrey Advertiser Group
Guildford Times w/e Saturday 17 November 2001
Fired up to stop burner
Warm welcome: The Incinerator Dragon meets Guildford MP Sue Doughty and members of the town’s anti-incinerator group at the Westminster rally
A ‘STOP Britain Burning’ lobby of Parliament in opposition to waste was joined by Guildford campaigners last week. Experts, activists and politicians attended the meeting in the new Portcullis House in Westminster to voice opposition to the Government's energy from waste policy and the current rash .of incinerator applications.
A former Environment Agency employee attacked the quango for failing to protect the public, and an economic adviser told how recycling could create jobs and wealth.
There were representatives from Guildford Anti-Incinerator Network (GAIN) and campaigners from Essex, Newcastle, Swansea and other areas threatened with new incineration plants.
The MP for Guildford, Sue Doughty, was among, the speakers. She told the lobbyists: "The people from GAIN will be the first to say that they did not trust politicians and they had to do the thinking councillors should have done for the people of Surrey, Hopefully we are going to get the answer we need. We as a community must work to make sure that councils do implement the rules we need if we're not going to be afflicted with incinerators in the future."
An Environment Agency board member recently suspended because of his criticism of the Government body, Alan Dalton, warned that communities could not depend on such organisations to protect them from the health hazards posed by incinerators.
"I was effectively sacked for talking to residents about issues I was meant to take up," he said. "They did not seem to protect their staff or people around incinerators. We do, not even regulate properly, which is a real insult to people.”
The recycling consultant and author of the London Waste Strategy, Robin Murray, spoke about the "tremendous potential' of good waste management in 'terms of the economy, employment and the environment.
He added: "The United States and Germany started out on a huge incinerator project but had to change to recycling because of a movement like yours."
An incinerator opponent from Newcastle, Val Barton, gave a dramatic warning about the dangers of allowing an incinerator to be built in the community.
She told fellow campaigners: "We were being told by the incinerator industry that the ash was sterile, incinerated, safe. I found the ash had been used in allotments and public footpaths,"
It was later revealed that the ash was toxic and had been spread illegally behind the back of the Environment Agency, she added. "I do not think we will ever find all the ash from the incinerator. How can we trust this industry and the Environment Agency?"
The director of Friends of the Earth, Charles Secrett, closed the meeting with a speech in which he urged consumers and investors to take environmental concerns seriously.
The lobby was called by Essex Friends of the Earth with the Lib Dem Colchester MP, Bob Russell, and supported by MPs from each of the main political parties. It added further fuel to the fire of Guildford campaigners, who have pledged to walk drive and take the train to County Hall for the planning meeting on December 6, which will decide the fate of the proposed Slyfield incinerator.