There are currently two applications to build incinerators in Peterborough. This causes confusion and leads to people to argue that we should just have one.
In fact we could have none. There are alternatives. And despite intensive corporate lobbying for incineration no-one can deny that there is widespread opposition. Apart from national and international organisations like GAIA and UKWIN there are many local groups that oppose this idea.
In some cases it is the local Council that opposes incineration. Unfortunately in Peterborough the Council is composed for the most part of the same people that press the interests of business. In fact the Leader of Peterborough City Council is himself one of the owners of the private incineration company that hopes to build a plant in Peterborough and another one in Sutton Bridge. So we can’t expect any help from that quarter.
The problem we face is caused by the fact that everything we buy and use contains material that is thrown away, and by the fact that in this country we have neglected to develop intensive recycling.
Anyone who has visited the Dogsthorpe landfill site to get rid of household items they no longer use will know that the site is cramped and understaffed, and that huge amounts of unsuitable material, plastics, glass and metals and other unspecified material in bags, are thrown into the big skips and landfilled. There is practically no recycling there, apart from items that are still usable and taken away by other people as second-hand goods.
Locally there are political and business interests that see incineration as a simple solution, available off the shelf, that will also make money. For them, it’s a no-brainer.
The chance that birth defects may rise in time as a result of emissions is of less concern to government or business. Government only thinks in electoral terms, and business insures against the legal costs. Neither is specifically designed to protect the interests of the public.
There is plenty of money to be made from effective recycling. It’s not a pleasant industry to work in but it’s work nevertheless. It’s not as if we’re short of manpower. The streets are full of it. Healthy fit individuals are sitting at home claiming benefits. If Peterborough City Council put as much effort into developing an effective recycling facility as they intend to spend on building an incinerator they could avoid incineration and still make money.
Peterborough needs to intensively develop its recycling capacity. I don’t see any indication that Council or business has even considered implementing this option.