No incinerators

Wasted Opportunity!

At the end of November, Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) quietly announced the objectives of its new waste strategy, eleven months after the public consultation period had ended. Manchester Friends of the Earth and other local groups in the area had put in a great deal of effort to make the public aware of the important consultation. FoE's views were that the new strategy should have ambitious targets for waste minimisation and recycling, with polluting and unsustainable landfill and incineration being used to treat waste as a last resort.

So, what does GMWDA plan to do with all our waste? Dispute impressive sounding figures such as aiming "to achieve a minimum recycling rate of 30% by 2006 rising to an indicative level of 35% thereafter", it's not very good news. The (incinerator!) door has been left wide open to allow plans to incinerate a third of Greater Manchester's waste, despite the clear opposition of the public to such a proposal.

Although a 30% recycling target (by 2006) may seem ambitious the authority's waste disposal company claim that it is possible to achieve 25% recycling by 2001. (Through centralised "dirty mrfs" - a mrf is a 'materials recycling facility' - without any kerbside collection.) Therefore, an additional 5% in 5 years is hardly ambitious.

So what happens now?

The WDA intends to award the new waste disposal contract in winter 2000. Prior to this there will be a lengthy tendering process where companies bid for the new contract. To assist GMWDA with the process external legal and financial consultants are to be appointed. According to WDA minutes, this process alone will cost council tax payers a million pounds!

Manchester FoE believes that there is a real threat of a new incinerator being built in Greater Manchester and it is necessary to start a campaign to stop such plans. We've a year to ensure no new incinerator are built.

It is possible! Following an excellent campaign in Stockport, the local council has made it clear that planning permission would not be granted should an application for an incinerator be submitted. Salford City Council are also reluctant for an incinerator in their borough. So, Manchester would seem to be the most likely site for an incinerator. Although the council have ruled out a proposal in Ardwick they have not as yet stated clearly their view on the GM Waste's proposal for an incinerator in Newton Heath.

We hope to call a meeting in the Spring to discuss ways to take forward the campaign to stop any plans for new incinerators and to promote waste minimisation and recycling. Please contact us if you would like to attend or otherwise get involved in this campaign.

Mary Lawson, Greater Manchester FoE Waste Network (860 6308/834 8221, office@manchesterfoe.org.uk)