Surrey’s Secret Incinerator Plans – Green MEP calls for transparency

Plans for three to six incinerators are hidden in a consultation by Surrey County Council on the future of waste management in the county.

Green MEP, Keith Taylor, has written to the County Council asking for an open and transparent presentation of the options so members of the public can make an informed choice.

Previous attempts to build incinerators in Surrey have met with a hostile response from local residents, with plans for two being withdrawn in 2010. Surrey was recently listed as top for recycling in England, alongside Oxfordshire, with 57.7% of waste being recycled.

The Surrey Waste Local Plan consultation lists nine sites in Surrey to meet a shortfall in “waste management capacity”. Elsewhere in the 27 documents on the county council website, there are references to “energy recovery” at 3 to 6 of the sites (although it is not specific about what would happen where). All are in the Green Belt.

Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, said:

“It is little wonder that Surrey County Council would want to attempt to bury plans for a slew of dirty great new incinerators across a county that has already made its views on these climate-destructive eyesores very clear.”

“Incineration is a major contributor to carbon emissions, even when it’s used to produce energy, and distracts from recycling and reuse efforts. Surrey is already top of the league for recycling and its waste strategy should rule out incineration and support waste reduction, reuse, composting, anaerobic digestion and recycling.”

“Once an incinerator is built it needs a steady input of waste to feed it. Worryingly the plan refers to importing waste from London to support the operation of waste management facilities.”

 “This consultation should be open and honest – if incinerators are being planned that should be clearly stated. You won’t find the word “incinerator” in any of the headline documents. Surrey should be putting all its efforts where it is most successful – recycling – and use other options to achieve its target of zero waste to landfill.”

“Once the principle of new incinerators is accepted in the Plan all local residents will have the chance to decide later are the minor details. If a series of incinerators are being planned for the Green Belt in Surrey this needs to be out in the open now.”

The waste consultation is open until February 7th. Keith Taylor is urging local residents to send in comments either by responding to the online consultation or emailing comments to