North Waste Land?

The North West could become a "smoky waste land" with giant incinerators burning thousands of tonnes of rubbish, if we are to believe a recent forecast by the Environment Agency.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) disputes the Environment Agency's figures (of 69 massive incinerators nationwide) and calls on the Agency, which admits health impacts from incineration are unknown, to concentrate its efforts into reducing waste and increasing the UK's woeful recycling rate instead.

FoE say the Agency's claim that the North West can recycle only a third and compost only a tenth of household waste by 2020 is too pessimistic. Already, the Netherlands recycles and composts over 60%, and Germany recycled and composted 48% of its municipal waste in 1996. Even in the UK, a recent recycling trial in Colchester achieved a recycling rate of 57% after just 3 months. FoE also criticised the Agency's forecast of a massive 80% increase in waste by 2020.

NW FoE spokesman Frank Kennedy said: "Community recycling schemes such as Emerge in Manchester (see above) and Acre in Rochdale point the way forward. The Agency needs to promote the positive and point us to what's possible. These backward looking forecasts, if not prevented, would leave the North West a smoky waste land, with giant incinerators needing ever more rubbish to feed them at who know what risk to people's health."

Although no applications have been made for planning permission, it is widely thought that Greater Manchester Waste Authority are hoping to build incinerators in Newton Heath and Stockport. Manchester FoE has already worked with communities in these areas to oppose previous plans and pledges to do so again.

Manchester Friends of the Earth (0161 834 8221,

GM Recycling Plan

The draft is available from - this is a PDF file. Initial comments from campaigners is that this draft has unacceptably low targets for recycling. Consultation closes at the end of February but Manchester Friends of the Earth are seeking a public extension.
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© Networking Newsletter (Feb 2001)