Surrey Waste Plan: Preferred Options Consultation
Please treat the following short answers as a response to the questionnaire "Let's Not Bury the Problem " and my further comments as a response to the more detailed consultation on the Surrey Waste Plan, Preferred Options.
Question 1: My answer is NO
I do not support the emphasis on "making provision for treatment in other ways" because this would largely mean incineration. I do not support the use of thermal treatment in Surrey.
I believe Surrey should meet waste targets by minimisation, sorting, recycling, composting and other biological treatment. Energy could be generated from biogas produced during biological treatment rather than from burning waste as proposed. The greatly reduced amount of waste remaining after maximum recycling, composting and biological treatment should be sorted and pretreated to make it as benign as possible in landfill.
Given that 80% of our waste can potentially be recycled or composted, that over 60% of our waste is biodegradable and that the remainder would be ill-suited to burning, I do not believe incinerating waste meets Surrey's needs. I wish to avoid the emissions that are an inevitable part of even modern incinerators and find it unacceptable that incinerators produce toxic waste from the burning process itself that has to be disposed of in hazardous landfill sites.
I am anxious that Surrey's Waste Contract for two incinerators is skewing the Waste Plan towards favouring incineration even though DEFRA advises that contracts that are incompatible with modern waste targets should be reviewed and changed.
I support GAIN's proposal for a policy in the Plan to indicate that Surrey will be particularly interested in proposals that meet high environmental standards and employ non-thermal methods of waste treatment. I also consider the Plan should be geared to the Regional 60% recycling and composting target.
Question 2: My answer is NO
I do not support the first priority of identifying sites for waste facilities in industrial and urban areas because this could mean putting incinerators and other thermal treatment close to many residents. I would not support incineration in any of the proposed locations. Surrey is too densely populated to use thermal waste technologies or large facilities that make bad neighbours. I support a major improvement in Civic Amenity Sites, accessible to every urban area in Surrey.
Questions 3 and 4: My answer to both of these is NO
I do not support the second and third priorities for developing waste facilities in the countryside because they do not distinguish between different types of facility and different types of waste. Different waste collection and treatment facilities have different impacts. I would support closed vessel compost plants with gas capture accessible to major communities across Surrey.
I oppose any of the sites being "preferred" or "safeguarded" for "energy recovery/thermal treatment". I oppose Slyfield being one of only two "preferred" sites for major waste facilities in Surrey. The Sustainability Appraisal advises that there should be a larger number of smaller sites, which would reduce the burden on Slyfield. Slyfield cannot be expected to accommodate an overly large facility with all the traffic, landscape and pollution impacts this would involve. I am also anxious that the Plan could allow incineration at the sewage works at Slyfield and about the overall bias towards incineration in the Plan, which could result in proposals for incineration at Slyfield.
Statement of Community Involvement
Please treat the following as a response to the Statement of Community Involvement Consultation and as comments on the way the consultation on the Waste Plan is being conducted.
I would like to register a formal complaint about the way in which the Waste Plan consultation is being conducted.
I think Surrey is muddling its planning and waste disposal roles.
I am very unhappy that there is no clear statement about incineration in the questionnaire. Previous waste consultations have disguised incineration as "recovery" and "energy from waste". Now it is being called "treatment in other ways". Surrey has a contract to build two incinerators, incineration is the Council's preferred option for residual waste and some very dubious weightings in the background reports favour incineration. The consultation should make it much clearer that if I support the approach of Surrey's Waste Plan I will be voting for incineration.
The Statement of Community Involvement should ensure the Waste Plan consultation delivers honest and transparent questions on the place of incineration in Surrey. It should also deliver answers to the 85,000 objections to incineration in Surrey. I feel Surrey is ignoring the concerns of many residents regarding its approach to waste. For example, it seems that the views expressed in over 1,500 responses to the pre-consultation are being largely ignored. A Statement of Community Involvement requires the Council to listen, and also to respond as to how the views of the community have been taken into account.
I am concerned that County Councillors are not being given the opportunity to enter into dialogue with the community and community groups over the approach to be taken to waste in Surrey. The Statement of Community Involvement should make provision for enabling our elected County Councillors to be more accessible to the community.
Additional comments: .
Copy to: Anne Milton, MP for Guildford
Surrey County Councillors
Councillor Andrew Hodges, Leader of Guildford Borough Council