Industrial and Commercial Waste Incineration

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 28th January 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff South and Penarth 4:30 pm, 28th January 2020

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the incineration of industrial and commercial waste.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hosie, and to see many Members from different parties, and indeed from across the UK, at this important debate. I know that the issue that we are debating is of great concern to Members across the House, and I hope we will hear some of their points during the course of the next hour.

Looking out towards the east of Cardiff today, one can see the waters of the Severn estuary stretching into the distance and, not far from our brand new Eastern High School, a large wind turbine—visible evidence of the green transition that we all want to see to renewable energy and renewable sources for the future. Now, imagine planted right next to that a huge industrial burner, complete with a chimney of pretty much the same size as the wind turbine pumping out yet more carbon emissions, and a trail of heavy goods vehicles delivering waste while providing their own blast to local air quality with diesel fumes, PM10s, particulates and so on. What a contrast and, fundamentally, what a contradiction. Worse still, it comes as part of a chain of proposed incinerators running from Swansea to Barry, to Splott in my constituency—where we already have an incinerator that I opposed—right through to Monmouthshire and across the water to Avonmouth, and in many other clusters across the UK.

I want to set out my total opposition to the proposals for the so-called energy recovery facility—it is, in fact, a huge industrial-scale burner—for the Rumney and St Mellons area in the east of Cardiff. The proponent, Môr Hafren Bio Power—businesses always choose these greenwashed names to cover up what they are up to—is essentially an arm of CoGen, a well-known company that is involved in these activities and based in Stoke-on-Trent. Interestingly, the main director, Ian Charles Brooking, has a series of other commercial interests, from rubber crumb companies to food products, as well as multiple variations of the Bio Power brand that are planning lots of speculative burner applications across the UK. An allegation has been made to me that CoGen and other companies will probably end up burning their own industrial and commercial waste—how convenient. I have been pleased to join thousands of local residents across the area in making our opposition known over the past six months, and we have been supported by colleagues on our local council and from across the parties.

There are many reasons why this facility is completely inappropriate, and I shall touch on them before I go into the wider issues. The first is about emissions and traffic. Much is made of the treatment of emissions through burner chimneys, but, given the climate crisis we face, the carbon emissions from such facilities make a crucial difference. I have already mentioned the emissions from traffic, and we are talking about potentially hundreds of vehicles going to and from the facility to deliver waste.