Surrey County Council drops incineration plans
Published: 12/15/2009

Surrey County Council today announced that there are no longer plans to build Energy from Waste (EfW) incinerators in Surrey.

Outlining the council's new waste strategy plans, Leader of the Council Dr Andrew Povey said: "I am very pleased to announce that we are scrapping plans for any EfW incinerators in Surrey. Today I will be instructing that the planning applications for incinerators at Capel and Trumps Farm be withdrawn.

"With our help, and that of our partners, our residents are now doing so well at producing less waste and recycling more that we are in a position to look at alternative methods of dealing with our waste and saving both money and our countryside.

"The way to achieve this is by diverting waste from landfill. The practice is not only destructive to our landscape and environment but the taxation on landfill alone currently costs us over £7 million per year. This tax is increasing at an alarming rate and will have almost doubled by 2013. If we don't act now the Surrey taxpayer could be paying as much as £13m annually in landfill tax alone within four years, so our goal is to avoid putting any waste in landfill by then."

The council's new approach to waste will concentrate on reducing the amount of waste Surrey produces, encouraging people to reuse things where they can and recycle as much as possible after that. The new plans will lead to a reduction in the amount of household waste dealt with every year by 35,000 tonnes, enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall 14 times. As a result the county will be making substantial savings in waste disposal costs by 2013. Minimising waste alone will result in estimated savings of £3.5 million per year in disposal costs.

Cabinet Member for the Environment Lynne Hack said: "A key element of the county council's new waste vision is an Eco Park, which would be the first of its kind in the country. It would incorporate a range of waste treatment facilities, an innovation centre to look at and develop the latest technologies and an education centre open to all.

"The proposed location is the existing waste management facility at Charlton Lane, Shepperton, which has been in waste management use for many years. The buildings would be designed sympathetically to fit in with the surrounding area and would look much more attractive than the existing development. There would be a reduction in traffic compared with the existing operation.

"The Eco Park would include an anaerobic digester and a gasifier, which would be half the size of the EfW plants originally envisaged for Capel and Trumps Farm."

In a gasifier, waste is heated to produce a gas, which can then be burned cleanly at high temperatures to provide energy in a similar way to natural gas.

Anaerobic digestion is a natural treatment by which food waste is broken down producing gases, which can be converted into energy. Last year 100,000 tonnes of food were thrown away in Surrey. The council is already working with the district and borough councils on separate food collections, which should be operating throughout the county by the time the digester is ready.

Because of successes in minimising waste and increases in recycling, Surrey requires much smaller plant than the proposed EfW incinerators. Together the gasifier and the anaerobic digester would treat 100,000 tonnes of waste per year, a considerable reduction from the 270,000 tonnes proposed for the EfW incinerators. They would produce enough energy to power 10,000 households, which equates to one fifth of the houses in Guildford. This 'green' energy would be sold to the national grid.

The new Eco Park plans would cost £50m, significantly less than the £200m it would have cost to build two EfW incinerators.

Local residents would of course be consulted during the planning process and their views taken into account.

Dr Povey concluded: "We are currently recycling about 47% of our waste; our target is to be recycling around 70% by 2013, which will put us among the best performers in the world. By taking this new approach and with this flexible use of new technologies we will be a world leader in dealing with waste. This strategy will reduce the carbon impact and cost less than previous solutions, making it the best value for money for the taxpayer."

Oct 2009 Changes to Recycling and Refuse collection services.

Following a very successful trial of an innovative domestic recycling and waste collection service (including parts of Merrow), Guildford Borough Council is extending the scheme across the borough in November of this year. The service is called “Recycling Works” and residents will receive;

• weekly collections of their purple and green recycling boxes,
• weekly collection of food waste,
• the option of fortnightly collection of garden waste for a small fee and
• fortnightly collection of things that cannot be recycled or composted, from a wheeled bin.

What were the results of the trial?

Latest figures show that one year since the introduction of the Recycling Works trial, residents taking part are recycling a fantastic 64% of all of their rubbish.

In a postal survey 88% of residents on the trial said the scheme was easy and convenient to use and 92% said that they were happy for it to continue.

Why are we extending the scheme?

Guildford Borough Council is striving to reach a target of 60% recycling and home composting by 2010.

The cost of landfilling our waste is rising substantially every year and so we need to avoid these increasing disposal costs.

One way to reduce climate change and its potentially serious effects on our future is to recycle much more of our rubbish. The council sees the separate collection of food waste as particularly important because when sent to landfill it generates methane and contributes to climate change.

The wheeled bins being supplied for the rubbish that cannot be recycled or composted will help to keep our streets cleaner and reduce the risk of injury from sharp objects to our staff and to our residents.

Our improved service will make reducing, reusing and recycling our rubbish easier for everyone.

Will everyone get a wheeled bin?

No. Some properties are unsuitable for wheeled bins, such as those with steps or steep slopes in the garden, properties with no front garden and no side access to the back garden. Each property has been carefully assessed by our staff and we will issue wheeled bins to every suitable property. Residents in unsuitable properties can continue to use refuse sacks for their non-recyclable rubbish, which will be collected every fortnight.

Our scheme is different

In other parts of the country changing the frequency of rubbish collections has been controversial. This is because rubbish collected fortnightly can mean smells and can attract flies, maggots and rodents. The difference with our scheme is that there will not be food waste in the bins to create these problems. In Guildford all food waste will be collected separately every week.

If the average Guildford resident recycled and composted everything that they could, only 13% of their weekly waste would end up in the wheeled bin for fortnightly collection.

All residents will receive further information about the scheme in August and kitchen waste recycling containers and wheeled bins will be delivered to householders in October. Collections will then start across the borough from Monday 2nd November.

For further information please visit or contact us on 01483 444499