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Warnings of London 'Ring of Fire' if Belvedere incinerator built

As the public inquiry into the Belvedere incinerator reopens, The Green Party has warned that London could become a 'Ring Of Fire', with the amount of rubbish burnt in the capital doubling in the next decade.

The party believe a new generation of incinerators could encircle the city.

Darren Johnson, a London assembly green party member, warned: "If we don't stop Belvedere, then there will be nothing to stop local authorities taking the easy route and burning their waste, instead of recycling it. The Government should take recycling and waste reduction seriously, which means saying no to Belvedere and ending the subsidies for incineration"

The Green Party's concern arises from a Government directive that from April 1 2005, councils will be fined £200 for every tonne of waste that goes to landfill over their allowance.

However, this merely leaves the opportunity to cut corners by incinerating.

With incinerators already existing in Lewisham and Edmonton and new ones planned for Belvedere, Slough and Maidstone, the report states that more London waste is burnt than recycled and the amount will increase with the new system of financial penalties brought in by the government.

Johnson continued: "Incineration is a stupid way to use a valuable, natural resource. It harms the environment, blights the surrounding community and could well have a negative impact on people's health. Local authorities in London should be investing in state of the art recycling facilities, rather than filling in holes and burning up our natural resources."

In response, a spokesman for Riverside Resource Recovery, who will build the Belvedere plant if it gets the go-ahead, said: "During its life, the plant will generate enough electricity to power over 66,000 homes each year. Contrary to assertions that are sometimes made, energy from waste is supported by government as a sound and environmentally acceptable option for dealing with residual waste."

The inquiry re-started at the Marriott Hotel, Bexley Heath on Tuesday September 6. The findings could have serious implications for how local authorities deal with their waste.

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