Mersey waste plans in chaos
PLANS to build two giant waste-burning incinerators on Merseyside appeared to be in tatters today.
Leading politicians say they will “robustly challenge” the need for the 300,000-tonne plants.
They also lashed out at Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority for “riding roughshod” over the views of the borough councils.
Since 2005, the body has been drawing up detailed plans for the “thermal treatment works”. It has shortlisted companies to build the plants and secured £90m of private finance initiative (PFI) credits from the Government as a key plank in a £3bn programme.
But Liverpool council leader Warren Bradley said incineration was not “the only ball in the game”.
He said: “We employ the Waste Disposal Authority to act in our best interests, and I don’t think they are acting in our best interests by riding this one trick pony on the waste agenda.”
He and the four other Merseyside council leaders met to discuss a draft waste strategy. The ECHO understands a final report later this month will try to change MWDA plans.
The MWDA wants to build the largest waste sites in the “vicinity” of where the M62 crosses the M57, and where the M57 crosses the East Lancs Road. Both Knowsley and Liverpool councils have passed strongly-worded policies condemning incineration.
Cllr Bradley continued: “The policy is that we will not have incineration or thermal hot waste disposal within Liverpool and we will oppose it strongly.”
He said there were “health issues” with incinerators and objected to any PFI scheme because it tied councils into a facility that could be obsolete before it is paid for.
Steve Foulkes, leader of Wirral Council, said: “We have robustly challenged the level of need [for incinerators].
“There are other methodologies where one can turn waste into fuel without burning anything.”
The leaders could pressure the authority to engage with private companies setting up treatment plants across Merseyside.
Cllr Bradley said Biossence – which is planning a 400,000-tonne treatment plant in Eastham, Wirral – presents a “reasonable way to go forward”.
Its Hooton Park plant will use steam to clean and separate raw waste. The remaining “organic matter” will be turned into gas for power.
An MWDA spokesman said: “If leaders and chief executives at the meeting did refer to issues relating to household waste and its recycling and disposal then MWDA would hope to be part of any discussions that might follow.”
A joint strategy for waste and new facilities was recently updated, THE ECHO