The Second Incinerator Consultation – Have I got any more peace of mind?

Published On November 13, 2011 » 1870 Views» Gloucester, Kingsway, Quedgeley - Fieldcourt
The rubbish incineration plant at Spillepengen...

Image via Wikipedia

I went back to the Javelin Park site today for the second consultation on the “energy from waste” facilities that are scheduled to be built to deal with all of Gloucestershires waste to reduce the landfill tax that will be imposed from Europe in the near future. What was very clear was that one of the competitors had put a lot of thought and effort into developing their proposal and responding to the comments made at the last event and went to a lot of effort to go through their process and explain each stage. The other competitor, well, less so! What was also very clear was the County Council had not listened at all as they sail their burning ship along.

Why do I say that, well the suppliers have been told to base their capacities assuming that the County Council will achieve 70% recycling. However they also admit that this is a really ambitious target and when you look across Europe, there is only one country that can boast of achieving this target. My big issue here is that if (or as I believe, when) we don’t make this target, where’s does the surplus go to, because the incinerator does not have the capacity to take up the slack should this be the case.

To recap, there are two competitors left, Compete Circle (CC), and Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB). They are close to down select to a single supplier and for me this raised a really interesting dilemma, was I going to pick up facts with which to oppose the idea of an Incinerator (as some of my residents would like) or am I going to determine my most preferable solution in order to encourage the right choice is made on the final selection decision? I decided I could easily do both because I had questions I wanted answers to from both, and that covered my health, community, transport and economic issues, but also I could. Use these questions and my own business knowledge to make a decision about which supplier I would choose.

I went to UBB first, they had a physical model of the proposal which enabled them to talk through the process with ease, and it was really easy to be able to discuss issues around their process and the issues around emissions, by-products and transport issues. They also had a computer ‘fly through’ model of the process and how it sits in the landscape. We talked a lot about the comments of the last consultation and what they did based on them and it was great to see just how much they had taken the issues onboard. The biggest improvement was the process to deal with the ash which will take place inside the facility and be reused directly out of there.

I then went on to CC and the contrast was amazing. They looked like they had not made anywhere near so much effort. Their evaluation of the previous consultation led them to spending a lot of effort the aesthetics of the building and their use of timber and reclaimed brick was very interesting, however the issue behind the actual process and technology had not really improved at all, in particular their solution with the residual ash was to ship it to south Wales and Bristol. When I started to ask questions around analysis and other more difficult questions, they tried to “flannel” me, which I didn’t really appreciate.

For me, the devil is in the detail and this is where UBB were much better, they had gone for high quality solution and they know what they are going to do with every element. Maybe it was the ability to talk with the technical guys and really get inside the systems thinking behind the project. So, on technical solution I would choose the UBB solution.  However, this is a decision without seeing any of the finances.  But you could say that maybe the cost doesn’t really matter if  we are getting the best solution that will be the safest, healthiest.  Im not advocating an unlimited budget, but what I hope is that it is a value for money solution that is chosen rather than just the cheapest.

I have a lot more reading to do, the UBB guys gave me a lot of examples of where they have done this in urban areas so I want to read up on their examples.  But there are more fundamental questions to answer, and these are from the County Council.

  1. What are they doing to ensure we get to the 70% recycling target (because in the current format, they wont make it)?
  2. Why did the Government take back the PFI Credits?  Publicise their report.
  3. What is the modelling for Growth?
  4. Why did they not engage with the residents properly?  What are they going to do about proper Consultation?
  5. Why did they not publicise the consultations very well?  Apparently only 400 people came along to the first one.

No doubt I will have more questions as I read upon the solutions and thankfully the consultation is on for another day, so can go back with extra questions after work tomorrow.  If you have not been, go down, get your questions answered and get your facts.  Without that, you can’t make a proper decision.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share this post
Tags

5 Responses to The Second Incinerator Consultation – Have I got any more peace of mind?

  1. Joe K says:

    I hope I’ll be going down there today, before it ends (at 8pm?).

    Your ‘big issue’, however, Barry,seems quite the opposite of what I recall being the major objection before, that if the county couldn’t produce enough residual waste, more might have to be brought in from outside our boundaries, with lorries roaring up and down the M5. People didn’t complain that we might have to export our waste, I’m quite sure of that.

    I anticipate going to this exhibition with a ‘You had me at EU fines’ attitude, but maybe I’ll go away less sure that incineration is the right option. It’s the curse of an open mind 😉

  2. Barry says:

    Like you say Joe, there are a number of issues around it, and this one was something else that came up when I started playing with some Event Analysis stuff.

    My main concerns are not so much around the logistics (they are quite high on the list though). My main concern is more around the health issues highlighted by Glosvain and what is being put in place to alleviate these fears. The most “amusing” example they could give me is the incinerator that has had a hotel and Ski slope built on/around it to make the most of the heat and electricity produced.

    For me its also not so much about is incineration the right option, because many people do agree that incineration is the logical last stop in the waste line. My problem is that we are not doing enough before the incineration to ensure we are making the best use of every element.

  3. Paul says:

    Surely the other thing to consider is that surely it should be built somewhere that can make use of the energy produced.

    There is nothing around currently that would benefit from the free heat generated.

    Gloucester council is awful at accepting items for recycling that nearly all other councils I’ve lived in would. I think this should be fully addressed first before even considering an incinerator.

  4. Joe K says:

    For personal reasons, I almost ended up not going, but ultimately made the effort so I would be able to say I had made the effort. I didn’t make a great visitor because there aren’t a lot of things I was curious about, but they still managed to cram a few new facts in my head…

    Although Urbaser/Balfour Beatty seemed to go to a lot more trouble on the presentation, the two bids seemed pretty similar apart from the snazzier design of the U/BB facility. The only real difference seemed to be that Complete Circle are going to send their ash out to be treated rather than ‘in-house’.

    They both hope to see businesses that can make use of that free heat taking an interest, but it’s early days yet, I guess.

  5. Pingback: Gloucestershire Incinerator Provider Chosen? - Is it the "right" one?

Leave a Reply