Essex Local Groups call on Essex to dump Waste Contracts

Essex Friends of the Earth campaigners at County Hall

Friends of the Earth local groups from across Essex descended on the steps of County Hall, Chelmsford on Thursday, calling on ECC Leader Cllr Peter Martin and Cllr Kevin Bentley, new Cabinet member for waste, to dump the hugely costly and widely-opposed 28-year PFI waste disposal contracts they are currently pursuing.

Paula Whitney, for Essex Friends of the Earth, said:

“These hugely costly waste disposal contracts for 28.5 years include the widely-discredited PFI.

“They will destroy our valuable materials for ever and create toxic gases and increased climate change gases.

“At this time of economic pressure all councils are desperately trying to cut costs so Essex County Council must dump these outdated contracts.

“Essex recycling and composting is rising fast and has already hit 50%, with food waste collections starting across the county.

“This is what will increase income, save energy and valuable materials, cut transport pollution and help our UK reprocessors.

We hope we are pushing at an open door and that the new county council Cabinet will cancel the waste disposal contract process and not continue this economic and environmental madness!”

The preferred bidders have still not been chosen and the signing of the contracts, scheduled for this month, has been delayed yet again till some time next year.

Strong opposition in Essex over the past thirteen years has held off waste disposal contracts for polluting incinerators, which many other counties are now regretting and trying to pull out of.

Recycling and composting levels have risen across the UK, with top councils reaching 70% or more.

Essex recycled 50% last year as did Surrey, who have now set a 70% target for 2013.

Meanwhile total waste produced has dropped in Essex and across the UK.

We need to invest in separated kerbside collections of our valuable recyclables to provide clean recyclate to our UK paper, glass and plastic reprocessors who are pleading for councils to do this.

Government-funded body WRAP have brought out reports over the last two years showing this brings in high income and is cheaper than mixing recyclables in a wheelie bin or sack which contaminates the materials and has to be sorted out.

Levels of recycling and composting are rising fast each year in Essex with food waste collections now being rolled out by Essex district councils and elsewhere to be used with agricultural slurries etc in Anaerobic Digestion plants to produce renewable energy as heating gas or electricity.

The Essex district councils fought the county council’s plans for incineration at the Waste Plan public inquiry in 1999 and Colchester council refuses to support the proposed PFI waste disposal contracts.

The Inspector at the 1999 inquiry permitted incinerators to be built at Basildon Courtauld Road, Stanway, Rivenhall, or Sandon.

The current plans are for massive MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment) plants shredding and drying black bag waste to make polluting fuel pellets to burn in an incinerator.

This destroys our valuable resources for ever and creates toxic air pollution and increases climate change gases here and across the globe.

An MBT plant was agreed at Stanway for 250,000 tonnes of mixed rubbish which would be the size of seven football pitches. An even larger one is permitted at Basildon.

Rivenhall Airfield was given approval for MBT and other waste plants and an incinerator with more than double the Basildon total tonnage.

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