Don’t listen to council’s spin!

SIR – Regarding county council plans for a waste incinerator – don’t be fooled by sales spin!

Spin number one: ‘Modern incinerators make only a small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants and so pose no significant danger to public health and are thoroughly monitored.’

Fact: Two UK doctors reviewing 300 references on health effects of incinerators said in 2008 that the present level of monitoring is appalling, many would consider it negligent. Only a few of the pollutants emitted are monitored. PM2.5 particulates with proven health effects are not being measured, and only a small number of hundreds of chemicals emitted are checked, eg dioxins and heavy metals, but only for around 1% of the time! They conclude that no more incinerators should be built because there are safer, cheaper, better alternatives.

Spin number two: ‘Modern incinerators produce energy and help climate change.’

Fact: The amount of energy recovered by burning the waste is less than one third of the energy which was used in producing the stuff which ends up being burnt. If the discarded materials were recycled, around three times more energy could be saved! Because of this, and the large amounts of CO2 emitted by incinerators they worsen climate change. The maximum practical energy contribution to the UK from efw incinerators is about 0.88% of current energy use.

Spin number three: ‘European countries such as Denmark and Germany that have the highest rates of recovery also have the highest levels of recycling.’

Fact: Denmark – high incineration rate (55 per cent) has only 40 per cent recycling (less than Herts now). Germany with a high recycling rate 68 per cent, but has a much lower incineration rate (33 per cent). Flanders recycles over 70 per cent and incinerates 25 per cent (with rigorous continuous monitoring emissions).

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Herts County Council is planning to spend �220m to burn 50 per cent of our waste, while Dorset County Council is avoiding incineration for cheaper, better alternatives.

David Ashton,

Herts WithOut Waste.