Municipal Waste Incinerators in Knowsley and St Helens in the North West

(7 Posts)
Maud241 Thu 20-Sep-12 22:26:55

Just to let anyone know who may live in the areas around Knowsley Thursday 27th September 2012 1pm to 7pm Youth Club Shop Road Knowsley Village presentation Environment Agency regarding the planned Energos waste incinerator will be the final opportunity for concerns over the proposed plant to be aired. The EA has given draft approval for the plant and without a substantial number of objections raised by the population affected the plant will go ahead. Cogen wish to build a similar plant in St.Helens ten miles away from the Energos plant the homes between the two plants will be subject to pollution from both sites depending on weather conditions. Thank you

MIL lives near the proposed site of one of the plants. I know that her and her neighbours have all objected but don't know the outcome of the objections. Have you any information? Are the council going to grant them permission? angry

ethelb Tue 25-Sep-12 21:57:06

And what's the problem? I presume they are using them for micro generation of electricity?

Maud241 Wed 26-Sep-12 11:31:02

St Helens proposed Cogen plant has had planning permission refused by St Helens Council. Cogen may appeal this decision and Mr Eric Pickles has the final say if Cogen decide to appeal. http://ukwin.org.uk/ keeps map and update of where each proposed site is upto.
Knowsley Council agreed planning permission for the Energos plant back in 2009. The site has not been developed since then apart from a few trees trimmed to keep the planning permission 'live'. Energos must gain a permit from the Environment Agency to run the plant. The EA will take formal representations from parties interested in the Energos plant using this linkhttp://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/library/consultations/142238.aspx

Maud241 Wed 26-Sep-12 12:15:45

Dear ethelb
Totally with you on micro generation of low carbon energy. But sadly I don't think this is the way to go. The low carbon calculation for these plants does not include the initial generation of the fuel. So the CO2 emitted during production of carrier bags for instance is not included in the CO2 foot print of these plants. The waste burnt is classed as non-hazardous but under UK law batteries and discarded smoke detectors(containing radioactive componants) can be incinerated in this classification http://www.hpa.org.uk/Publications/Radiation/NPRBArchive/DocumentsOfTheNRPB/Absd0302/ These sites may run for the first three months during commissioning 'out of consent' and then for a given number of hours every year without fear of prosecution. The DEFRA and Health Protection Agency Regulations which control this type of facility are using data generated from the 1980's when there where over 200 incinerators across the country presently there is less than 30 http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/library/consultations/142238.aspx. The calculations for the dilution effect of spreading waste between so many sites back in the day, cannot possibly be relevant now there are so few but despite a request by my MP the HPA decided there is no need for a review. The plan is for 96,000 tonnes of waste to be driven to the site annually for incineration. Knowsley does not produce that volume so debris will have to be supplied from elsewhere as yet that information is not available. Stoke on Trent Council face a bill for not providing enough waste for their local incinerator http://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/councils/stoke-faces-bill-for-sending-less-waste-to-efw
So I hope you can understand that I am not just a nimby and would happily accept a giant windmill/solar panel and all associated pylons in my garden but incineration is just bad science, bad economics and not the way forward.
Regards
Maud

ethelb Wed 26-Sep-12 12:32:56

Maud, Thanks for your sensible reply.

I agree with a lot of your concerns, I just do get frustrated by how quickly these things are opposed. For example, could you lobby the council for more sensible plans? For example, a smaller amount burnt at the site, or a veto on burning electronic components at the site? or for more recycling facilities and harsher penalties for councils who don't recycle effectively.

Also, can you campaign for the local area to get a better deal with the electricity? I am presuming there is some kind of tariff. Can it be raised?

I am a bit confused as to why the carbon footprint of the waste should count? Those plastic bags aren't great but they are kind of duel purpose!

Plus, the methane generation by landfill is a massive contributor to CO2. Do you have any figures to compare CO2 release by incineration of waste with CO2 release from landfill.

The other option, is suggesting that the incinerator is made smaller and moved to a different site like a hospital for incinerating medical waste. This is quite popular in Denmark and the Netherlands. If you use incineration for expensive to dispose of waste (like medical waste) it is not necessarily bad economics.

Maud241 Wed 26-Sep-12 13:20:50

Hello ethelb
The HPA and DEFRA have to look at the age of the data they are using to OK these plants. If a member of the public tried to use this kind of material to argue against plants they would be classed as unprofessional and naive.
Knowsley Councillors gave planning permission for the site back in 2009 at that point all the council have supposed to taken all residents concerns into account. All residents have been given recycling bins. Debris which must be transported here to run the plant efficiently can presumably be taken from any council who wishes to reduce landfill no details available as yet. As it is legal to burn electric components in the UK as non-hazardous waste Energos may burn whatever they like but pleas are being made directly to Energos to remove batteries etc and give the volume and cost of recycling such waste along with other information they have to publish. No benefits to the community regarding lower fuel bills are in any documents or have been discussed at any meetings I have attended.
The carbon footprint of Windmills solar panels etc have to include the production of the units to give a correct calculation for the CO2 saved or generated by using these technologies. As incinerators do not have to include the CO2 produced in generation of the fuel they are using as part of their CO2 footprint it gives a false picture. Allowing these plants to advertise themselves as low carbon when the true CO2 figure is fiddled to make them appear green.
Methane generation is a problem for landfill figures maybe available from http://ukwin.org.uk/ but the ash from these incinerators is taken to landfill. As the waste burnt has included batteries and smoke detectors the landfill site will now leech the toxins from the waste and it will be uneconomical to recycle any of the heavy metals/radioactive isotopes from the ash. But if the batteries etc were taken out before it was incinerated it could be recycled.
As for hospital incinerators I have only seen the Energos fall out map so not sure for any other plant, and they are estimating the bulk of the dioxins etc generated by the site will land on the surrounding 300m (weather conditions can change these figures dramatically). Energos also estimate the reduced life expectancy to people in the area will only be half a day with 80 years exposure to the plant. Presumably these calculations would be difficult to calculate if the population the dioxins etc were landing on where pregnant women, newborns and sick people.
Thank you for reading all this

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