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Herts EfW figures are “flawed” claim opposition group

Plans for a controversial energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Hertfordshire are based on flawed, out of date information, local campaigners have alleged.

Campaigners from Hertfordshire Without Waste (HertsWoW) and Hertfordshire against incineration (HAI) presented the county waste partnership with a graph of revised estimates for the level of waste arisings in the area.

The campaigners’ estimates suggest that the level of residual waste arisings in the county council’s outline business case (OBC) for the project are too high. Instead, the campaigners’ predictions estimate that municipal solid waste arisings will plateau and that levels of residual waste will fall below the proposed capacity for the 345,000 tonne EfW facility – rendering the facility unnecessary.

HertsWoW campaigner David Ashton told MRW: “Our projections are based on trends since 2007 which are more or less flat-lining, so that one is balancing an increase in households with a decrease in the amount of waste being generated per head, which seems to be the trend.

Clearly there’s a very big shortfall between the amount of household waste generated and the capacity of this machine, so they say we’ve got 400,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste to be processed, but other waste companies have run into problems as C&I waste doesn’t have the right calorific value for incinerators.”

A Hertfordshire county council spokesman said: “Predicting waste arisings for 25 years in the future is extremely difficult given the range of external factors that need to be taken into account. However, all factors which can be taken into account have been. The county council is still predicting that, by 2039/40 there will be some 345,000 tonnes per year of residual waste requiring disposal.  That quantity could be lower. Then again, it could be higher depending on factors such as population growth over the same period. The county council has, it believes, been prudent in its estimates and is confident that it should proceed as it has to date.

“If recycling were to increase and residual waste generation falls, as we hope they will, there is still another million tonnes  of waste requiring disposal from commerce and industry generated by businesses in Hertfordshire; businesses crucial to the economy of the county. Local authorities are being encouraged to ensure that they plan for and manage their waste within their borders. It is no longer acceptable for Hertfordshire to export so much of its waste - both commercial and municipal - to its neighbours.”

A decision by Hertfordshire county council will be made on 28 April as to the location of the county’s new EfW facility.

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