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September 1st, 2014:

Demands of oversized incinerator will stifle the efforts to recycle more waste

Jul 30, 2014

EARLIER this month, the European Commission published a range of new recycling targets for waste which, if accepted by the European Parliament, will be embedded in a revised Waste Framework Directive.

It would mean that local councils would be expected to recycle 70 per cent of household waste by 2030, while the target for packaging waste would be 80 per cent. The Commission is also looking to prohibit the sending of recyclable waste to landfill by 2025.

The proposal has been broadly welcomed by environmental groups, who are working towards a more sustainable approach to waste management and are keen to maximise what we recycle and compost.

I certainly agree that it is ridiculous that thousands and thousands of tonnes of recyclable and biodegradable material is dumped in landfill or incinerated, when much better use could be made of such resources.

The response from the Government, however, has been quite frosty. It has indicated that its representatives will oppose the targets when they are debated, citing the “potential costs to business, householders and local authorities”.

Such a view is in stark contrast to the Wealth From Waste report from the Local Government Association, published a few years ago.

This stated: “The simple fact is that taxpayers would be better off, the economy will benefit, and more people will have jobs if we grow the domestic market for collecting, sorting and reprocessing recycling … recycling actually brings in cash for the taxpayer and we owe it to today’s hard-pressed taxpayers to get as much of their money back as possible.”

The commission’s new targets would certainly need to trigger a step-change in how the United Kingdom deals with waste. According to figures from DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), English local authorities recycle, on average, 43.2 per cent of residents’ waste, though in Wales the figure is over 50 per cent.

But here in Cornwall, the unitary authority is tied into a multimillion-pound “integrated waste management contract” for the controversial incinerator – with an annual capacity of 240,000 tonnes – being built near St Dennis. It will principally deal with Cornwall’s domestic waste.

We have a recycling rate of less than 40 per cent and are generating 180,000 tonnes of residual waste annually – significantly less than the capacity of the incinerator – and I do fear that efforts to almost double recycling efforts in our area will be stifled by the need to fill the over-sized incinerator in Mid-Cornwall.

Port Hope council denies garbage incinerator applications

Todd McEwen

PORT HOPE — Well, bring on the Ontario Municipal Board.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, council denied the applications for a proposed Wesleyville garbage incinerator.

Entech-REM previously applied to change the zoning bylaw and municipality’s official plan in order to build an energy-from-waste facility on a 23-acre site in Wesleyville.

Now, the ball is in Entech-REM’s court.

Council has predicted the company will file an appeal on the decision with the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), considering the municipality’s director of planning recommended council approved the applications.

The OMB examines individual cases from a planning perspective, considering whether an application meets provincial land policies and the principles of good planning.

Northumberland News’s calls to Entech-REM for comment were not returned by press deadline.

“I feel very hopeful that REM will not pursue the OMB,” said Councillor Mary Lou Ellis, chairman of the planning committee. “I would hope they know this will not be a good fit for our community and they will try and find a more suitable location.”

“I like to remain hopeful on that,” she said, referring to them not appealing the OMB. “I’m hoping when the (health) studies that the Ministry of Environment are working on come forward, we’ll have a more complete picture and I’m sure (Entech-REM) will too.”

“I’m just happy this part’s done,” she said. “They now clearly know how this municipality and this council stand on that issue.”

“I just want to thank all of you for making this decision tonight,” resident Sarah Sculthorpe told council. “As an individual, as a mother, as a grandmother, as a farmer, as a business owner and as a resident of this amazing municipality, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Many residents were singing a different tune at a public meeting the previous Thursday.

The meeting attracted about 300 people, about 40 of whom blasted not only the four representatives of Entech-REM who attended, but the municipality’s council and staff, accused of not having the best interest of the residents in mind.

“We’re now in the middle of a billion-dollar (radioactive waste) cleanup, when the leaders of Port Hope simply were not aware of the dangers,” resident Terry Hickey said, referring to the historic low-level radioactive waste left behind by Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. “This council, our current leadership, cannot be unaware of the multiple dangers this project brings to Port Hope. To allow REM to proceed, flies in the face of the phrase once bitten, twice shy, or in this case, stunned.”

Throughout the night, many residents challenged the director of planning’s latest report on the matter, which supported the applications.

Ron Warne and the planning staff’s first recommendation was to defer the applications until the provincial environment screening review has been completed, with the second advising council to approve the applications and place a holding provision on the lands, which suspends any development until the health reports and Ministry of Environment studies are completed.

“Staff are of the opinion that the proposed development represents an appropriate use of the subject lands,” Mr. Warne wrote in the report.

At this point, the future of Wesleyville is still up in the air.

“Go to the OMB, I’m not afraid,” resident Siobahn Kenny said at the public meeting. “The only people who should be afraid of the OMB are the four men (of Entech-REM) sitting at that table.”