A ten year battle to prevent expansion of the Eastcroft Incinerator was finally lost on 12 Feb 2009. Secretary of State Hazel Blears has decreed that the operators WRG can add a third furnace to import an extra 100,000 tonnes p.a. of 'non-hazardous' commercial & industrial waste from all around the region to pollute Nottingham's air.
The incinerator already burns 150,000 tonnes p.a. - mainly household waste from Greater Nottingham, which should reduce as recycling rates improve. Blears was asked to at least impose a condition to require heat from the new furnace to be recovered via an expansion of the district heating scheme. She refused, and totally ignored evidence which showed that if only electricity is recovered from the heat, as WRG plans, the greenhouse gas emissions will be just as bad as if the waste was all put in landfill.
NAIL (Nottingham Against Incineration and Landfill) was formed in 2002 to oppose expansion of the incinerator after Nottingham Friends of the Earth and others failed to get a policy to support expansion removed from the Waste Local Plan. Nottingham FOE has strongly supported the NAIL campaign for more recycling and less incineration.
NAIL's campaign persuaded City Councillors to refuse planning permission for expansion in 2006 and again in 2008. WRG appealed and an inquiry was held in 2008. Hazel Blears called it in to make the decision herself because, she said, of the importance of energy and climate change policies. However, she almost totally ignored NAIL's evidence on climate change which showed that WRG's proposed new furnace will cause as much climate change emissions as if all the waste was put in landfill.
Meanwhile, in 2008 the City and County were forced to commit over £20m over 3 years to pay for essential repairs to the existing incinerator. That is a consequence of an original contract agreed in 1972 between the City Council and the Coal Board who was responsible for the original incinerator. It will require the City and County to send most of Greater Nottingham's household waste to the incinerator until 2030 and to pay for the capital costs of maintaining the two existing furnaces over that time.
For background see NAIL's website at www.nail.uk.net.