Dorking Advertiser – 4 May 2006

 

Temperature rises over waste disposal policy

 

A MEETING between Surrey County Council and the Capel Action  Group was to air pros and cons of incineration but as NICOLA RIDER reports, each group was not happy with the other’s claims

 

COUNTY officials have voiced disappointment over claims they are doggedly persisting with the introduction of incineration in Surrey.

 

Surrey County Council's, environment and economy select committee had invited the Capel Action Group (CAG) to make representations to it last week.

The CAG was set up to try to stop the introduction of an incinerator in the village.  Following a two-day meeting, the committee said they were disappointed by claims made by members of CAG that the council was ignoring other options available instead of incineration.

Surrey County Council say CAG’s claims have been refuted by independent experts and committee members because there is no referenced evidence to support them.

Marian Myland, chair of the select committee, said: 'This issue of Surrey's rubbish and how we deal with it is both important and emotive.  We accepted that people had strong views on it, which is why we organised a special meeting to allow everybody to put their points of view.

This was an opportunity to put forward all the fact-based evidence on the pros and cons associated with various means of waste management, including energy from waste.

 

'Unfortunately the evidence presented by CAG was opinion-based and was not referenced to any formal environmental studies.

 

This is an issue which demands a rational approach.  We understand that people have opinions and we are committed to considering these at all stages, but we cannot do anything, with speculation.

 

'We do however welcome genuine evidence from all parties and will continue to do so.

 

'Councillors are independent members, here to hear all evidence from various parties and we need to see clear evidence to convince us to support any particular view.

 

'If CAG can find hard evidence referenced to proper environmental studies, we would welcome them back at the select committee to investigate these.’ But a CAG spokesman said they are “angry” their claims are not being taken seriously.  In a statement, the group said: "Almost seven years have passed since the county council entered into its long-term waste contract.  That contract has simply not delivered.

 

“If CAG can find hard evidence referenced to proper environmental studies, we would welcome them back”

-         Marian Myland

Chair, select committee

 

"The county council goes out of its way to promote the theory that. incineration will bring an acceptable solution to dealing with the county's waste, when repeatedly the public show that that will not be acceptable.  Alternatives to mass-burn incineration are greatly in evidence on the mainland of Europe.'

 

Another two-day meeting of the environment and economy select committee will be held on Monday and Tuesday next week to discuss the next stage of dealing with Surrey's waste.

 

The waste plan will be open to public consultation during the summer and CAG plans to hold a public meeting on Wednesday May 24 at 8pm, when executive member for the environment David Munro will answer questions put by the public.

 

 

Surrey County Council answers the claims

 

·         CLAIM

According to the Capel Action Group, incineration would prevent Surrey recycling 80 per cent of its waste

 

·         SCC REPLIES

CAG now recognises this is not possible and praised Surrey's 60 per cent target

 

·         CLAIM

Surrey County Council’s pursuit of incinerators is a matter of dogged persistence

 

·         SCC REPLIES

Incineration was chosen after two years of independent research into waste treatments

 

·         CLAIM

CAG claims Surrey's plans are led by disposing of waste

 

·         SCC REPLIES

The council's waste strategy focuses on recycling with plans to invest millions into recycling facilities

 

·         CLAIM

CAG claims incineration produces dangerous toxins

 

·         SCC REPLIES

Research shows incinerator plants strip toxins and release water vapour