5 July 2019 by Lucy Pegg

Councils split over Javelin Park incinerator

Gloucestershire county council and Stroud district council are at odds over the opening of an energy from waste (EfW) facility at Javelin Park, which began operating tests this week.

Council leaders in Stroud have long opposed the EfW plant and now claim they will ensure as little waste as possible is sent from the town to the new facility through more recycling and waste minimisation.

Inside the EfW at Javelin Park in Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire county council defended the opening of the EfW plant, which was built as part of a £500 million contract between Gloucestershire council, waste management company Urbaser and civil engineering firm Balfour Beatty.

‘Disaster’

Stroud district council leaders Doina Cornell (Labour), Martin Whiteside (Green) and Ken Tucker (Liberal Democrat) released a joint statement condemning the Javelin Park facility.

They said: “The incinerator is a disaster. It is expensive to run, the contract undermines attempts to reduce the amount of waste we produce and recycle, and will undermine our commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030 and tackle climate change.

“Although we have a legal duty to take our household waste to Javelin Park we will do everything we can to ensure that the least amount possible is sent for incineration.”

Non-recyclable household waste from the Stroud district has been delivered to Javelin Park since July 2, in response to a directive made by Gloucestershire county council which is the Waste Disposal Authority and has control over waste issues in the area.

‘New way’

Gloucestershire county council stated that the first deliveries to the EfW marked the start of a “new way” to treat household waste which would previously have been landfilled.

It said: “The new energy from waste plant is for the waste that cannot be reduced, reused or recycled – reducing carbon emissions by 40,000 tonnes a year, generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 25,000 homes and saving taxpayers 100 million pounds over the next 25 years.”

Gloucestershire council also criticised protesters opposed to the EfW, who had stopped lorries from making the first deliveries of household waste for test burning on July 1. The council said the campaigners’ actions had caused disruption to some waste collections in the county.

Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked the entrance to the EfW (credit: NoMoInGlo via Twitter)

“Whilst we respect the right to peaceful protest, the actions taken by protestors has meant the collection of residual waste from a number of communities across Gloucester was not collected, with their next scheduled collection not for another fortnight,” the council said.

“The Gloucestershire Energy from Waste facility has been granted the necessary permissions to operate by the Environment Agency, in which we have full confidence and brings to an end our reliance on landfill and the associated environmental impact.”

The Javelin Park EfW plant has a capacity of 190,000 tonnes per year. It has faced opposition throughout its development – in January a community group filed a High Court claim over the award of a contract related to the facility (see letsrecycle.com story).

  • Challenges in getting the public to recycle in Gloucestershire were this week highlighted by Gloucester MP Richard Graham (Conservative). Speaking at a meeting in Westminster, Mr Graham said that Gloucester city council had said that 25% of residents in the city “did not engage in recycling” and that the “carrot and the stick” were needed to get people to recycle.
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