As part of our ongoing “Banking on Big Biomass” campaign, Biofuelwatch and the UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) will be paying a visit to the Green Investment Bank (GIB) at their Annual Review on Thursday the 25th of June from 9.30am – 12.30pm at Gibson Hall, London, EC2N 3BA.

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) was set-up to help finance low-carbon projects, but its biggest loan to date has been to Drax coal-fired power station to help them convert half of their capacity to biomass. Read more about this here.

It has been calculated that of GIB’s waste sector investments, 85% has gone for incineration with only 3% for recycling and 12% for anaerobic digestion (AD), and without intervention the GIB look set to continue to invest in incineration and biomass in the future.

For the 3rd year running we will picket their annual review and demand that the GIB invest in genuinly renewable forms of energy, instead of big polluting biomass and incineration developments. We invite you to join us.

For more information and updates on this action, please visit https://www.facebook.com/LondonBiomassive or email biofuelwatch[at]ymail.com

(Note: This article was adapted from the one published at http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2015/green-investment-bank-annual-review-protest/).

Comment from UKWIN on the GIB’s funding of incineration:

The GIB is undermining the waste hierarchy and helping ensure waste management is driven down the hierarchy from reduction / reuse / recycling / composting to incineration which counts as recovery at best and disposal by default. GIB’s impacts are therefore considered to be negative / damaging from a waste management perspective.

Additionally, the incineration/gasification/pyrolysis facilities the GIB are supporting are exacerbating climate change, blighting communities, harming air quality, and wasting public resources.

By investing heavily in incineration, including gasification and pyrolysis, the GIB has introduced new and exacerbated existing barriers to investment higher up the waste hierarchy, and investment in genuinely low carbon technologies. For example, GIB investment in the Derby incinerator has res capacityulted in reduced collections for recycling and reducing recycling services because funds that could have been invested in recycling (and in eduction to promote reduction, reuse, improved recyclate quality, etc.) have been invested in incineration.

Instead of driving improvements in policies and regulation, the GIB is responsible for encouraging local authorities to pursue pro-incineration policies that harm the environment, e.g. by diverting resources from reduction, reuse, recycling and composting efforts and instead locking local authorities into incinerating recyclable and compostable material.

One of the main barriers to investment in the top tiers of the waste hierarchy is that the externalities of the environmental harm of incineration, and the environmental benefits of recycling, are not adequately reflected within their respective prices, as identified within Defra’s Economics of Waste and Waste Policy paper. These are market failures which the GIB should be helping to address, but instead they are making things worse by financing the construction of new incineration plants (including gasification and pyrolysis) as this, e.g. including via put-or-pay clauses, results in the marginal price of incineration being even lower than it would otherwise be, which increases the marginal cost of reduction, re-use, recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion from the perspective of a business or council. When waste is locked in to incineration contracts it cannot then be available for more innovative uses higher up the waste hierarchy.

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