Please take a few minutes to help stop a return to incineration for Bristol’s rubbish.

The West of England Partnership are currently proposing to use PFI to build a 160,000-tonne (or bigger) incinerator in our area. This plan was recommended at the WoE Project Board meeting on 12 March, but will not be discussed by Bristol City Council’s cabinet till June.

The WoE have already put in a bid for PFI credits – BEFORE the plans have been agreed by any of the WoE councils. They will put a business plan together for the incinerator in May – BEFORE there has been public consultation on the Joint Waste Core Strategy.

Please take a few minutes to express your concerns to your local councillor. You can find their details at:

A few things that you might like to mention, as well as the above implications for local decision-making and democracy:

1. Encourages more waste
Incinerators need fixed quantities of rubbish. Authorities that have chosen incineration, have correspondingly low recycling rates. Contracts also tend to be very long (25 years), meaning that we will have no way to adapt positively to changes in the waste make-up and volume.

2. Generates energy inefficiently
Incinerators that generate electricity produce more greenhouse gases than gas fired power stations. We are very unlikely to get a CHP incinerator which would operate at 50-70% efficiency. The market is more likely to want to build an electricity-only incinerator, which will operate at around 27% efficiency. Incineration does not generate renewable energy – burning plastic just substitutes one fossil fuel for another.

3. Wastes energy
Recycling saves far more energy than is generated by burning waste because it means making fewer new things from raw materials.

4. Causes pollution
Smoke, gases and ash from incinerators can contain harmful dioxins which are a cause of cancer.

5. Does not make waste go away
Incineration reduces waste to around 40% by weight, 25% by volume. The ash needs to be disposed of to hazardous landfill.

We want to see a greener solution for our Green City.
Friends of the Earth recommend using MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment) with the maximum of recyclable material removed from the waste; and the remainder stabilised (so it does not give off any methane), and then sent to landfill. This is the best option in terms of climate change impact, and will avoid LATS penalties. We should also be adopting an immediate recycling target of 50%, and 70% in the longer term, and working on a zero waste strategy. Defra will give PFI credits for MBT, so if PFI is the determining factor, this does not prevent us from also doing the ‘right thing’.

Please let us know if you have contacted your Councillor, and copy us in on any replies.

More information at: