Thursday (18th September 2008) was Day 7 of the public inquiry into Waste Recycling Group’s (WRG’s) appeal against Nottingham City Council’s refusal to grant planning permission to expand the existing Eastcroft incinerator to burn another 100,000 tonnes of waste each year. Jon Beresford of Nottingham Against Incineration and Landfill (NAIL) gave his testimony and was cross examined. Jon focussed on describing Eastcroft as a ‘bad neighbour’ citing WRG’s many breeches as evidence of their ‘cavalier approach’ to preventative maintenance. He argued that Eastcroft’s prominent chimney stack provides residents with a constant reminder of the dangers they face from toxic emissions, which would greatly increase if planning permission were granted for an expansion.

Additional witnesses also testified against the proposed expansion. Property developer John Rhodes, who has been involved in a £50 million investment in the city of Nottingham, said he would not invest in property located any closer to the incinerator, and after having investigated the prospect of joining the district heating scheme associated with Eastcroft he opted instead to take advantage of the warmth of the water flowing through Nottingham rather than rely on WRG’s outdated, dirty and unreliable incineration technology. According to Mr. Rhodes:

Expansion of the incinerator would kill off any remaining enthusiasm to invest in the area because expanding the incinerator sends out the wrong message to investors.

Nottingham’s Civic Society also gave evidence against the expansion, describing the Eastcroft incinerator as “traffic-generating eye-sore” that is out of step with efforts to regenerate the town centre. The site had been on the outskirts of the city, but the city has grown to engulf Eastcroft and the Civic Society argued that Nottingham’s waste should be managed using more modern technology in a more suitable location, well away from the city centre.

Dennie lionks his asthma to Eastcroft incinerator

Dennie lionks his asthma to Eastcroft incinerator

Members of the public also gave testimony on Day 7 and additionally on Day 8, including an 11-year-old Sneinton resident who spoke of his fears that the proposed expansion would increase pollution and could make his asthma worse. He said:

I go to Iona School on Sneinton Dale. It is on a high hill and I feel like the incinerator is kind of hurting me in a way. Because I know what is going into me even though I cannot feel it. If it was made bigger I think I would get even more asthma attacks because it would put even more pollution into the air I breathe in…I believe that my asthma was caused by pollution from the incinerator, and I think people should be made to recycle so there is less rubbish to burn causing pollution in Nottingham. I think this case should not be about making the incinerator bigger but be about closing the incinerator down.

At the close of Day 6, Nigel Lee, representing Nottingham Against Landfill and Incineration (NAIL) and Nottingham Friends of the Earth, explained how in the future less rubbish would need burning because of increased recycling and composting. He accused WRG of “seriously overstating” the amount of future waste in Nottingham.

The primary need in Greater Nottingham is not a further expansion of incineration but increased provision of facilities for reuse, recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion [where energy is created through the breaking down of biodegradable waste]. WRG appears to assume that once current targets for these are achieved there will be no scope for further reducing the residual waste. We would argue, for example, that it should be unacceptable to incinerate material which could be separated for recycling. It is likely that within the lifetime of the existing incinerator such separation could become compulsory to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, there is increasing pressure to separate wastes for clean anaerobic digestion or composting. The existing furnaces at the Eastcroft Incinerator have capacity for around 60% of all municipal waste in Greater Nottingham. And when recycling tops 40%, that will make spare capacity available for suitable trade waste.

Closing statements are expected on Wednesday 24th September, and a decision could take a further six months.

No Responses to “Nottingham public inquiry approaches an end”

  1. Continued use of incinerators is a travesty of the rights of citizens. It is clear that they are unwanted by citizens who consider them hazardous in many ways. It is also clear that incineration is outmoded by modern technology that provides for reducing, reusing and recycling our rescources. Alas our elected representatives will NOT listen to us, rather they prefer to dance to the tune of big buisness that makes huge profits from our waste. For example Kent chose to sell their waste to a waste management company and finds it has lost out on £1,000,000 in profit that could have been used to either reduce council taxes in Kent or provide inproved services.

    I feel really bitter about our loss of democracy in this regard and the flagrant behaviour of counsellors who plough their trough with big buisiness to our detriment and I wonder WHY?

    Megan Tansley

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