Surrey’s Waste Plan: secret incinerators and unambitious recycling targets

Surrey Greens have reviewed the County’s draft Waste Plan to 2033, which highlights a massive planned increase in incineration at the cost of recycling.

The Plan, which is open for consultation until February 7th, proposes up to six new incinerators on Green Belt land, even though Surrey is joint top for recycling in England.

Green County Councillor Jonathan Essex says: “There is no justification for building incinerators, which are polluting and energy inefficient and would lock us into continuing to burn high volumes of waste, thus stopping us recycling and reducing this waste in the future.

“Incineration takes waste away from recycling. There will be huge local opposition to any new incinerators and they will cost a substantial sum, which would be best put into keeping our recycling centres open for longer and investing in better recycling practice, as well as activities to increase waste prevention and reuse.”

Surrey Heath is currently the top performer for recycling and composting (62%), followed by Guildford (60%). Surrey Greens are calling on Surrey County Council to set a target of 85% by 2033 with zero waste as the end goal.

The Plan also keeps the public in the dark about what waste facilities will go where.

Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for the region, who has also submitted a response, said: “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.

“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.”

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