London incinerator decision under attack

Posted: 15 June 2006

The UK Government's decision, announced today, to allow Europe's biggest incinerator to be built in London was immediately condemned by a leading conservation agency as a waste of resources and a step in the wrong direction in the fight against climate change.

The 'energy from waste' plant, to be run by Cory Environmental at Belvedere in South East London, will burn waste from across central London. It will also produce 72MW electricity. The Greater London Assembly, the local council and local residents all oppose the plant.

Jenny Bates, London Campaigner for Friends of the Earth said:

"The Government is supposed to be promoting recycling and waste prevention but they have just allowed the biggest incinerator in Europe to be built in London. It will not only end up burning lots of materials that should be recycled, but it will also emit large amounts of climate-changing carbon dioxide. Britain still languishes near the bottom of Europe's recycling table - we need to address this and make the most of our waste - not burn it."

Friends of the Earth has recently commissioned research that shows claims that that incinerators produce "green" or "renewable" energy' are incorrect. The research shows that a waste to electricity incinerator such as that proposed for Belvedere produces more carbon dioxide from fossil fuels (such as plastics in rubbish) than a gas-fired power station.

This study also shows that the UK could invest in a real renewable energy-from-waste technology, anaerobic digestion, which takes kitchen and commercial food waste and converts it into methane that can then be burnt. The resulting residue can then be used as compost.

For a copy of the report 'A changing climate from energy from waste' and a shorter briefing 'Dirty Truths: Incineration and Climate Change' go to www.foe.co.uk