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Actor backs community opposition to EfW plant

A community group’s proposed alternative to an energy-from-waste (EfW) plant in Gloucestershire has launched shares in the venture with the backing of actor Jeremy Irons.

Community R4C (CR4C), a community benefit society, kicked off its campaign in Stroud on 15 April. It says that all funds raised through the share scheme will support community environmental projects.

The first is for a mechanical, biological and heat treatment (MBHT) plant as an alternative to Gloucestershire County Council’s Javelin Park EfW scheme, which encountered strong local opposition and delays in securing planning permission.

Campaigners argue that 92% of residual waste can be usefully recovered or recycled in an MBHT facility instead of being sent to recovery or landfill.

“The MBHT plant will be commercially funded and operated and, after community investors have been repaid, a share of all profits from the plant will revert to CR4C to fund a ‘community chest’ to be used for local projects,” the group says.

The facility is expected to be operational in 2018, although last November the group wrote to the council, saying: “CR4C remains on track to begin construction of its MBHT waste management facility in Q2 2016, with first processing scheduled for Q4 2017.”

The group’s website notes: “We will not fund capital costs of building the plant – this requires major commercial investment which the support we provide will help to secure.”

People can register their interest with a pledge of at least £100.

Irons is a supporter: “It was clear that campaigners against the proposed [EfW] incinerator were exhausted by years of a struggle where democracy had failed, concern for the environment had been dismissed and the will of the people consistently ignored.

“When I urged them to ‘re-gird their loins and do something’, I aimed to encourage continued resistance. I’m delighted to discover that the community has actually gone several steps further and created a credible, healthier alternative solution that poses a genuine threat to the toxic monster they’ve been fighting.”

The £50m Urbaser Balfour Beatty EfW facility is intended to process up to 190,000 tonnes of residual household waste a year and generate 116,000MWh of electricity annually from 2019, as well as producing 30,000 tonnes of sustainable aggregates a year and recover around 3,000 tonnes of metals.

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