Councils claim success as Colnbrook incineration takes up recycling shortfall

While Hertfordshire councils admit recycling has fallen dramatically and Slough rates remain well below Government targets, increased burning of rubbish in Colnbrook has allowed the failure to be trumpeted as success.


The Hertfordshire Waste Partnership – which represents Hertfordshire County Council and the ten Hertfordshire district councils – has revealed that recycling fell by as much as 5% during 2012/13, while waste sent to “energy from waste” facilities rose significantly. The amount of rubbish incinerated leapt by 26,890 tonnes.

Waste from Herts is currently sent for incineration at Edmonton and to Grundon’s super-incinerator at Lakeside, Colnbrook.

Herts blames the recession for a fall in recycling from 50.4% in 2011/12 to 45.5% by March 2013.  However, it claims the increase in incineration as a success in its wider waste strategy:

… combined with recycling and composting resulted in almost two thirds (65.4%) of the household waste generated in Hertfordshire diverted away from landfill – a significant achievement.

Similarly, while rubbish sent to landfill from Slough Borough Council has reached its lowest rate ever, recycling remains a lamentably low 30% and most of Slough’s waste is now incinerated.

Slough Borough Council said last week that only 0.7% was buried last year, compared to 87% ten years ago, trumpeting one of the lowest rates in the country.

Nicholas Hannon, Slough’s waste and environment manager, said:

… the majority of the non-recyclable rubbish that used to be sent to landfill now gets shredded down and sent to Lakeside Energy from Waste in Colnbrook. There it generates about 45 megawatts of electricity per day – enough to power the borough.

The cheap energy is coming at a cost, figures from Clean Air London show.

Data released on Wednesday last week, as part of its national list of shame campaign, places Slough at the top of a South East air pollution death league table.  6.84% of deaths in Slough are attributable to air pollution and Slough MP Fiona McTaggart has challenged the Government on the issue.

Slough Borough Council is consulting on a 15 year strategy to increase recycling 60%.

Meanwhile Grundons is pushing forward with plans for several new super incinerators while plans are in place for Hertfordshire’s own 380,000 tonne EfW facility. A final decision on the plant – to be run by Veolia Environmental Services near Hatfield – is expected by the end of March 2014.


External Links

Rubbish sent to landfill from Slough at the lowest rate ever – Slough & South Bucks Observer

Herts sees big rise in EfW as recycling drops – lets

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