Monday, 14 November 2011

Sham Gwyrdd / Incinerator PFI

Sham Gwyrdd / Incinerator PFI
The five Councils in the Prosiect Gwyrdd consortium in S-E Wales propose to lock council-tax payers into a high cost 25-year PFI-type contract for a waste incinerator, while neighbouring councils in England have recently achieved a cheaper 9-year contract for MBT.
● There are now 2 companies left out of 4 on the shortlist - each proposing a large incinerator to burn ‘residual’ municipal waste
● Viridor’s giant incinerator in Splott (350 000 tpa) is ahead in planning terms
● Veolia's 260 000 tpa incinerator at Bowlease Common, Llanwern/Newport is still going through planning procedures 
● The ‘Project’ set a £3million penalty for any partner-Council that withdraws, to tie in Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire, Caerphilly and the Vale of Glam.
● The decision is due next autumn after the Council elections; Labour and several Tories in Newport have come out against the Project, also the Independents in Caerphilly.
While P Gwyrdd talk ( of “waste infrastructure build”, they always meant an INCINERATOR
Each Council’s priority is to recycle and compost as much waste as possible ….FALSE …. SPIN
They assert falsely
“manage the remaining waste …
after recycling and composting
has been maximised” In fact
The Councils are going slow, putting off the 70% level of recycling and composting for years, till 2025, though some regions (eg. Belgium), some municipalities (eg. Los Angeles; Italian towns) and leading Councils in England are already around 70%.
Welsh councils commissioned consultants who told them they could reach 80-90% and it would cost less. Why did the P. Gwyrdd Councils ignore them? Because they are set on providing waste for a mega-incinerator, funded by Welsh government with £9 milllion pa special subsidy, and £27 million pa from our rates.
Note: North Wales Waste Partnership is similar to Prosiect Gwyrdd
Bristol has taken another way – Avonmouth MBT plant – far cheaper and 9 years contract, not PG’s 25 years 
MBT is mechanical and biological processing to sort the maximum reclaimable material from black bag waste and then bio-stabilise residues to produce ‘soil’ for land reclamation, or RDF-fuel. The new Avonmouth scheme costs £25 million and was built in18 months, not the £200 million of PG’s Viridor incinerator that takes years to plan and build (now 2014-5). With MBT, extra modules can be added and processes changed as better treatments become available, while incinerators lumber us with old technology and probable over-capacity, like Viridor in Splott. Questions for AMs to ask Q1. Will AMs press the Environment Minister to consider objectively the merits of the new MBT plant at Avonmouth serving the Bristol area, and the advantages of its low capital cost, flexible modular form, shorter (9 yr) contract and speedy commissioning, in avoiding the high PFI-like commitment and lengthy procurement of a single incinerator?
Q2. Will AMs call on the WG to look again at evidence that incineration has larger greenhouse gas footprint than other waste solutions, except old-style landfill - submitted by FOE Cymru and established by Eunomia Consulting?
Q3. Will AMs call on the Environment Minister to assess the impact of its incineration policy on the Welsh carbon footprint, given the EU requirement that local authorities count incinerator CO2 from waste in their totals ?
Q4. Will AMs press the Environment Minister to exclude incinerators that waste much of the heat, the major energy output from an incinerator? Will they press him to favour plants sited to supply heat required by existing or planned rather than speculative industry, and to introduce requirements for Heat Plans to reach minimum levels by given dates as in Scotland ?
Q5. Government in England requires Councils to genuinely consult the community and demonstrate public support before they approve funds for waste incinerators; what are AMs doing to secure similar criteria in Wales before promises via WPPO of funding for incinerator projects?
Q6.The Welsh Government refuses support for MBT as it’s a partial solution, requiring outlets for the stabilised waste or refuse-derived fuel, yet grants support for incinerators without requiring outlets for the waste ash (25-30% of input waste) and ignoring the Proximity Principle (TAN 21). Will AMs challenge this irrational and unjustified block on MBT?
Q7. PG shortlisted four companies for incinerators, intending to select two to work up final bids; two of the four have now withdrawn. Will AMs press PG to exercise their right to invite at least 2 further bidders to join the contract shortlist, if only to secure competitiveness and best value? Or better, to restart the procurement with preference for a 10-year contract for high-efficiency, low-CO2-emitting facilit(ies)?
Q8. PG’s shortlist excluded all options apart from a 25-year contract for incinerators (4 shortlisted, two remain). Will AMs press the WG to suspend funding for PG pending a proper democratic choice between incineration and alternatives?
Q9. Are our politicians aware of the work of Professor C.V. Howard, a distinguished British toxicologist at Ulster University and expert in this field, who reviewed all the evidence and concluded in 2009 that waste incinerator plants like the ones proposed by PG “should not be approved in the light of the likely risks to public health and the environment”?
Q10. Cardiff Council and EA Wales refused to take into account expert evidence presented to a recent public Inquiry by Prof. Howard on serious health risks from incinerators, especially the health of our children, which was material in getting the Incinerator rejected. Will AMs require that authorities in Wales consider the full range of current evidence on health risks, not just the biased assessments from the quasi-government HPA?
Q11. To safeguard our waste reduction and recycling, will AMs press the WG to outlaw Councils contracting to supply a guaranteed minimum amount of waste per year to an incinerator?
Q12. To ensure policy flexibility and value for money, will AMs press the government to exclude contracts over 10 years, apart from optional 5-year extensions, cutting out PFI-type 25-yr contracts?
Q13. WAG officials repeatedly over-estimated municipal waste tonnages. Will AMs insist that WG officers make a new and realistic assessment of future residual waste taking account of the latest waste reduction and recycling information for England and Wales?
Q14. Statistics for UK and the EC show a clear and negative correlation between recycling and increased use of incineration, i.e. the more incinerators are built, the lower the % of waste is recycled. With PG Councils hanging back on recycling, how will the WG enforce preference for recycling?
Q15. Given the changes in ROC subsidy to renewable power announced last month on top of the increased costs of finance post-credit crunch, will you press the WG to require a full review of PG's outline business case?
Q.16 Six private-public partnership incinerator projects similar to PG were cancelled in England last year. Should the Wales Audit Office review P Gwyrdd under current finance costs and the tougher criteria set in 2010 ?
Q17. Given the precarious state of PG, do you agree the Councils should prepare fall-back plans, collective or individual, founded on local public, commercial and non-profit businesses, in case the mega-project collapses?
Q18. Will our politicians acknowledge that many Councillors as well as the public and interest groups have experienced lack of transparency about project Gwyrdd – minutes are not published, meetings are held in camera, the 'great gods' of commercial confidentiality and EU Competition directives rule above fine words on public involvement and openness?
Democratic Deficit in Welsh Waste Projects
In England, waste projects are required to genuinely consult the community and demonstrate public support. They also have to conform to the overall Waste Plan. The UK Environment Minister recently invoked the public support criterion against several PFI projects previously given the nod.

The Petitions Committee agreed with a Petition in 2009, that consultation on the Regional Waste Plans had been inadequate; now the Petitions Committee has two petitions before it against the imposition of incineration, from Cardiff Against the Incinerator and the United Valleys Action Group.

P Gwyrdd claims to consult, but they have proved to be a propaganda unit promoting incineration. Public involvement in their road-shows and pseudo-consultations have been minimal (<>).

How can the Assembly force the Welsh Government to follow principles on engaging and consulting the public, and force their procurement arm (WPPO) to adopt requirements similar to England's?

Cornwall Incinerator fails on Judicial Review
The High Court success in October of community groups against the 25-yr incinerator contract has left Cornwall County Council with wasted investment, legal costs, and no alternative plan. Such a risk should surely rate in Wales too, and warn the Welsh Gov’t against driving through incineration plans.
Contact the Cardiff campaign
United Valleys Action Group
SNIC Newport campaign;
South Wales WIN (Without Incineration network)

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