Saturday, 5 March 2016

CATI condemns Euro funding for the Cardiff Incinerator

The EIB announcement is here and the Walesonline/W.Mail/Echo report is here
Draft decision of the Euro-Investment Bank shows pro-incineration corruption
Incinerating waste is contrary to the circular economy, where we re-use materials of end-of-life products.  “Recovering energy” is a hoary old myth, as the ‘recovery’ is far less than the recovery of materials and CO2 emissions are maximised.
The EIA says “waste is being transformed into vital renewable energy”, an ignorant statement when huge volumes of fumes and CO2 are emitted and 70,000 tonnes of nasty ash is produced per year.
Viridor’s incinerator is badly inefficient in energy terms, about 22%, far from the 60% of ‘high efficiency combined-heat-and-power’ plants that the Welsh government decided should be the aim. The company claims to a future heat-piping system to use the 78% wasted heat energy have come to nought.
The Viridor contract with Cardiff and other local authorities is in fact set up to burn recyclable materials.  80-90% of the municipal waste stream can be recycled, 70% was set as the minimum in  Welsh government targets, but Viridor’s contract builds in a maximum of 65% recyclables.
Viridor’s Cardiff incinerator performance has been poor.  The plume comes to ground, shown by a plasticky smell from potentially toxic compounds in homes as far as 2-3km away.  Viridor failed to extract metals from the ash, and had to put in magnetic equipment under enforcement (by NRW, Natural Resource Wales in April 2015).  Viridor did not set up re-use of the ash, but sent huge amounts to Lamby Way tip (about 50 000 tonnes from January to Sept.) until the tip was full.  Since then, Viridor has been paid £60 000 per month to truck out the ash to England, contrary to the proximity principle of waste management policy.
The EIB belief that the Viridor incinerator ‘reflects Cardiff’s environmental commitment’ is quite false.  The Council started processing the ash on Lamby Way site, unlawfully, but were forced to stop because they could not control the spread of toxic dust and pollution from the ash (Incinerator campaigners hit out over Lamby Way ash dumping).   Cardiff are trying to escape the 70% minimum recycling level by offsetting it with incinerator ash aggregate, which European legislation excludes.  They are also trying to offload Viridor’s incinerator ash to Barry Dock, with lengthy lorry trips though the city and Dinas Powys. (Barry action in High Court against ash dump 

It’s a disgrace for the EIB to invest in such a bad facility, adopting the propagandist arguments of self-serving officials.  We call on Welsh politicians to condemn this and set up an inquiry on how the Welsh Government came to support and subsidise incineration at such a bad plant.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4th March 2016

CATI has written to political leaders in the Senedd, asking them to question the EIB investment in this un-green project, contrary to the EIB mandate.  CATI has also asked Jill Evans MEP to raise the issue with the Bank and to seek disclosure of the biased reports from the Welsh Government on the Viridor project.

ANNEX – UKWIN (United Kingdom Without Incineration Network) writes to EIB (vice-president Jonathan Taylor  j.taylor@eib.org) 3 Mar 2016.

We are disappointed to read that the EIB is still supporting incineration projects.

The EIB should be supporting the circular economy and removing waste from the residual stream, not perpetuating outdated technologies that result in the lock-in of valuable resources into the bottom tiers of the waste hierarchy.

There are no guarantees that the feedstock would not be reduced, re-used and recycled given appropriate education, collection, sorting and treatment infrastructure. Furthermore, there is already more incineration capacity built and under construction in the UK than there is genuinely residual waste to burn.

"We have to have a circular economy concept, so it’s highly important that we’re pumping back materials into the economy rather than burning or burying them." – William Neale, then member of cabinet for European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik with responsibility for waste.

The EIB should cease all unsustainable investments in harmful technologies, including incineration, and attempt to de-fund any incineration projects (including gasification and pyrolysis) already funded so as to allow for a rapid move towards a more circular economy and a recycling society.

Shlomo Dowen, National Coordinator of UKWIN

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