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Waste Management is a very complex business, shared unequally between the public, local Authorities and the Waste Companies. To many people their interest in rubbish ends in the “Black Bag”. It is worth taking a moment to understand how that rubbish is processed. A laymans Guide to waste management can be read here
Municipal waste is ‘collected’ by District and ‘disposed’ of by County Councils. Commercial and industrial waste is a separate issue, handled by the industry using its landfill capacity and other technologies as suits their overall business strategy. The waste management companies, many of them international conglomerates, operate across administrative boundaries in order to achieve optimum use of resources and economies of scale. They have many options open to them ranging from Landfill to Incineration. There are, however, two overriding issues that affect us all. The European Landfill Directive and the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) which will penalise all of us for dumping too much rubbish into landfill and the fact that any contract for the disposal of waste, say by Incineration, will have to be for at least 25 – 30 years for it to be cost-effective. It is, therefore, crucial that we select the right technologies of the many available that will bring benefits to all of us and to the environment. Moving rubbish around is transport-intensive and it clearly makes sense to dispose of it as close as possible to where it arises – the “Proximity Principle”. It is also true that the more we can recycle the more we can benefit from the mountains of rubbish we produce. This goes for both Municipal as well as commercial waste.
The key interface between the local Authorities and the Waste Companies comes about by the need for the waste management companies to acquire “Planning Permission” from the District Councils and an “Environmental Permit” from the Environment Agency for any large-scale waste disposal. No planning permission – no permit.
As you can see from the Google Map there are a number of proposals for incinerators and other forms of waste disposal currently active in Devon. These planning applications have been in the works for many years but have only surfaced into the public domain during 2010. Though linked in some ways, this website looks at each application on its own but must be seen as part of a much wider picture.
All waste management is a truly “regional” business and it makes absolutely no sense to try and limit our choice of solutions by administrative constraints. A glance at the map of the Devon County Waste Local Plan , though it does not show either the Devonport Incinerator or the new proposal for Lee Moor, makes plain how important it will be to get the most cost-effective solution, not for the large waste conglomerates but for the countryside and those who live there, as well as for the environment.
Devon County Council has now published its 'Municpal Waste Management Strategy for Devon'. It has also issued a consultation document on the Devon County Council Waste Core Strategy (Issues & Options Consultation Report). This will be the foundation document for waste management in the Devon County Council Local Development Framework (LDF). The deadline for contributions to this core strategy is the 21st July 2011. The deadline for contributions to this core strategy was the 21st July 2011 and CPRE Devon was a major party to the first draft. The DCC have now issued a document on “Waste Planning and Waste Management” .
The Government' Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) issued an update to 'Planning Policy Statement 10 - Planning for Sustainable Waste Management' - on the 31st March 2011. This important document can be seen at http://www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planningsystem/planningpolicy/planningpolicystatements/pps10 . The key feature of this update is to introduce a new "waste heirarchy" set out in the revised Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC). This revised directive seeks to increase the use of waste as a resource (e.g.for fuel) and to place greater emphasis on the prevention and recycling of waste, while protecting human health and the environment. It includes a new waste heirarchy which differs from the existing heirarchy in how it distinguishes between recycling and recovery. It will ensure that Local Authorities have regard to the heirarchy in the preparations of their waste plans; and that the heirarchy is capable of being a material consideration in detirmining individual planning applications. CPRE National Office, as part of its Policy Procedures Review Group (PPRSG) work, is currently drafting a new Policy Guidance Document entitled "Energy from Waste". The aim will be to publish this towards the end of the year.