Spending £110m on this is folly

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From Stephen Harewood.

I SINCERELY hope that our new government reconsiders spending £110m on an incinerator. That is more than the predicted black hole and simply an enormous sum of money in our current economic climate of caution and restraint. It seems an irresponsible way of spending taxpayer’s money.

We would be spending a vast sum on an outdated monstrosity that is already obsolete in all progressive communities. The savings alone could buy the Plémont headland, the Watersplash and Château Plaisir and return them to their natural roots, creating a greener environment.

Governments and scientists now recognise that sustainability is essential for our future, and the proposed incinerator is simply an obscene way of discarding our waste in an era of progressive environmental awareness. Surely it would be beneficial to create an Island image of a special place, pollution-free, which endorses eco-policies for both the health of its residents and the revival of tourism and a new emerging breed of eco-tourists.

This proposed incinerator with its massive carbon footprint from burning oil, its dioxin emissions and no recycling will quite simply destroy any aspirations of Jersey being ‘a green and pleasant land’.

It is difficult to understand the negative attitude of our leaders to sustainability and environmental awareness. Why is the Island spending more than £110m on a dinosaur that has been banned in so many other countries? There are so many better, proven technologies available which offer an eco-

solution to waste management.

The spin by Transport and Technical Services of ‘energy from waste’ is clever but untrue. The incinerator’s energy, while enhanced by the heat of burning dry waste such as paper and plastic, sounds reasonable, but with many parishes signing contracts to sell this waste to France, we will not have enough waste for the incinerator to generate energy. Instead it will consume it, creating a massive carbon footprint, spiralling costs and a lack of independence.

A small incinerator may be prudent, in the event of recycling problems, and there are far better and cheaper options available for this purpose. A hydrogen-fuelled plant, run on the electrolysis of sea water, is a clean and efficient plant with a burn of 300ºC, higher than any oil plant, resulting in five times fewer emissions and no carbon footprint or expensive running costs. The technology is proven, with over 30 plants operating in Thailand alone.

Anaerobic digestion should also be utilised. This converts waste into compost and recyclables for sale, as well as methane gas, which would fuel the whole of our public transport system for nothing. And it is zero-carbon.

For Transport to say that these alternative technologies are unproven is strange, when there are more than 1,000 such units operating in Germany alone at a fraction of the cost of our proposed incinerator.

Furthermore, it is interesting that the Medical Officer of Health endorsed the new plant ‘because its dioxin levels of emissions are 50% lower than the existing one’. Dioxins are carcinogenic and can be concentrated in dairy products – a bit like endorsing smoking 20 cigarettes a day as being healthier than 40.

I suppose we can console ourselves with being the first community in the British Isles to be awarded the BD’s Carbuncle Cup twice in a matter of months. The proposed incinerator could be called the Guy de Follies Memorial.


Grande Route des Mielles,

St Ouen.

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