THE HISTORY OF GAIN  @ December 2009


GAIN, (the Guildford Anti-Incinerator Network), chaired by the Reverend Colin Matthews, was formed by residents in September 2000 as the result of an application to build a 225,000 tonne plant at Slyfield. This application was turned down; but Surrey County Council continues to promote incineration elsewhere.


Over the last seven years we have taken a close and continuing interest in all aspects of waste management methodology, technology development, legislation and public debate. 


All the people involved in GAIN give their time freely in the believe that we must reduce, reuse and recycle our rubbish to far higher levels than we are currently attaining, and must then deal with what remains in a sustainable way.


We are non-political – we just want to do our bit for the local and wider community and safeguard our environment for future generations.


We believe ‘dirty’ landfill is damaging and unacceptable. It is setting up a false argument to say that if you are against incineration you must be pro landfill.


We have never been just an “anti” group, we would like to help and participate in finding solutions to our waste problems.


Using the knowledge we have built up we have gone to great lengths to put across our aspirations for the incinerator-free approach we believe is achievable. Many authorities across the country have recognised the potential for the biological treatment of waste, such as anaerobic digestion, which GAIN has promoted for Surrey. In the new ‘Waste Strategy for England 2007’ the government particularly supports anaerobic digestion.


We oppose incineration in principle. We have supported other communities threatened by incineration such as Basingstoke and Slough. In Surrey, we have worked with the Capel Action Group, (CAG), with people in the Woking area concerned with proposals for Heather Farm and Martyrs Lane and with residents opposing incineration at Trumps Farm, Longcross.


To date, GAIN has delivered over 90,000 letters of objection to incineration in Surrey.


Over the years we have engaged at meetings, and on the street, with thousands of people in the local community. We welcome the fact that ‘waste’ has had a much higher profile in the last few years and there is a growing public awareness and understanding of the issues.


We value the good working relationship we have built up with Guildford Borough Councillors, of all parties, and congratulate them on the progress Guildford has made in the recycling league.


We have been involved in several ‘key stakeholder’ events organised by Surrey County Council and have kept up a dialogue with successive Executive Members for the Environment on Surrey County Council.


At our public meetings we have welcomed many speakers, including our local MP, Borough and County Councillors and Officers, an MEP, Surrey Waste Management representatives and FOE waste campaigners. We have been informed by all of them and we have subjected them to rigorous, but courteous questioning and debate.


We now witness, in December 2009, the culmination of our objectives in that Surrey County Council have rejected the use of incinerators in the county.



Our achievements and accolades


·         Delivered over 90,000 letters of objection to incineration in Surrey


Responses to previous Surrey Local Waste Plan Review (2000)



Letters to political parties / elected councillors



Planning objections



Petitions opposing 3 incinerators



Objections to Environment Agency



Letters to Thames Water



Various petitions to SCC



Objections to waste aspects of Draft Structure Plan



Written responses to SEERA consultation



Written responses to SLGA consultation



Written responses to SCC - WLDF consultation



Letters to prospective parliamentary and county candidates



Written responses to Surrey Waste Plan



Written responses to Statement of Community Involvement



Written responses to DEFRA consultation



Written responses to JMWMS



Written responses to Surrey Waste Plan Submission Stage











These letters not only objected to incineration but also in the case of the SEERA consultation, actively supported their proposal for an incinerator free approach – Scenario 5b. (see extract)

The SLGA consultation also presented an incinerator free choice with – Option H. OPTION H gained our wholehearted support as the logical way to move forward.


·         Nov 2000: Held a rally in Stoke Park where an outline of the proposed incinerator was mapped out using black balloons, this made it onto the evening news.

·         Jan 2001: Invited to address members of Guildford Borough Council Planning Committee at a special meeting held at the Guildford Civic Hall (in front of a capacity audience of 1,600)

·         July 2001: Organised a Community Waste Workshop at Chilworth Manor (we successfully brought together councillors and senior officers from across Surrey for the very first time; guest speaker Robin Murray author of ‘Creating Wealth from Waste’

·         Aug 2001: Invited to address the crowd from the main stage at Guildford Live music festival (in front of an audience of 40,000)

·         Dec 2001: Defeated proposed Guildford incinerator at a special meeting of Surrey County Council Planning Committee (Surrey incinerators were amongst the top ten most ‘objected to’ planning applications in Britain's history)

·         July 2002: Invited to speak to the capacity crowd from the Main stage of the Guildford Music Festival.

·         Feb 2003: Invited by Surrey Local Government Association to address councillors and senior officers from across the county on Surrey’s Joint Municipal Waste Strategy

·         June 2003: Received the Guildford Mayor's "Living in Harmony" award

·         July 2003: Invited to speak to the audience from the Main stage of the popular Guildford Music Festival which is now sponsored by BBC Radio Two

·         Dec 2003: Invited to take part in the Examination In Public for the Surrey Structure Plan.

·         July 2004: Again, invited to speak to the crowd from the Main stage of the Guildford Music Festival (sponsored by BBC Radio Two)

·         March 2005: Hosted a public meeting and debate for the prospective Guildford parliamentary constituency candidates to present their party policy on waste management.

·         April 2005: Hosted a public meeting and debate for representatives of the prospective county council candidates to present their party policy on waste management.

·         July 2005: Delivered the GAIN message to the crowd at GUILFEST – Guildford’s ever popular music festival sponsored by BBC Radio Two.

·         April 2006: Presented the GAIN submission for Waste Technologies to the SCC Environment & Economy Select Committee.

·         May 2006: Presented the GAIN submission for Waste Strategy to the SCC Environment & Economy Select Committee.

·         July 2006: Delivered the GAIN message to a record crowd at GUILFEST.

·         February – July 2007: Participated in the Examination In Public of the Surrey Waste Plan.

·         November 2009: Invited to participate in the information gathering operation for the SCC Environment and Economy Select Committee Waste Review Task Group  

·         December 2009:  Surrey County Council at last agree that incineration is not for Surrey.   The new leader, Dr. Andrew Povey instructs that planning applications be withdrawn.







Support and Communications


GAIN is a growing coalition of residents' associations and concerned individuals, funded by public donation. GAIN has maintained a close working relationship with Guildford Borough Council. We have given countless media interviews to local newspapers, regional TV, regional radio, and national press including The Times.


Further details of our work are scattered across this website together with links to a mass of information contained in sites across the globe.


Before you leave this page you must read the words of Dr Paul Connett (a tireless worker for a healthy tomorrow) –


“When you build an incinerator in your community you are advertising to the world that you were not clever enough, either politically or technically, to recover your discarded resources in a manner which is responsible to your local community or future generations.”


Thank you for visiting our website – there may be errors or information that is not as current as we would wish but everything we do is in the sincere belief that we are helping to promote policies that will make our world a healthier and safer place.


If you are an expert or feel that you are better informed and /or in possession of significant or more appropriate information - please feel free to comment or contact usback to the contact page


We are not too proud to say that we need your help; we all live on Planet Earth.