No to the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Incinerator.

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The East Midlands Energy Re-Generation (EMERGE) incinerator proposal is currently in the planning stages.

On grounds of public health and the environment, we call on Nottinghamshire County Council to refuse this planning application and to consider green and renewable alternatives.

The EMERGE proposal does not meet the standards of Nottinghamshire’s Waste Core Strategy, neither does it align with broader waste and climate change mitigation targets. There is also a strong public worry that a new incinerator will generate particulate matter which will be blown by winds across Nottinghamshire and be a toxic danger to public health.

Nottinghamshire’s Waste Core Strategy states that "All new...waste management facilities should be located, designed and operated so as to minimise any potential impacts on...climate change" (WCS14). The incinerator is a step backwards in mitigating climate change. It will divert resources and energy away from reuse and recycle and instead encourage councils to continue to burn waste at a high cost to the environment.

Nottinghamshire’s WCS aims to achieve 70% recycling or composting by 2025 (WCS3). Evidence from DEFRA suggests that the nationwide recycling is underperforming with “53% [of landfill or incinerated waste that] could be categorised as readily recyclable, 27% as potentially recyclable”. Thus, by diverted potentially recyclable waste, the incinerator proposal severely damages the chances of Nottinghamshire achieving its recycling targets.

We already have enough incinerator capacity locally to cope with local waste. There are about 20 incinerators within a two hour drive of the proposed site. With rates of local recycling increasing, the waste to run this incinerator will be shipped in from far and wide. This is also in contradiction to Nottinghamshire’s WCS12 which states that in the exceptional cases that waste from outside is dealt with in Nottinghamshire, it should make a “significant contribution to the movement of waste up the waste hierarchy” The proposed incinerator, which burns potentially recyclable waste, clearly contradicts the strategy.

The incinerator will be an eyesore on the Nottinghamshire countryside, looming over the green belt and contributing to the continued destruction of natural habitats for wildlife. Nottinghamshire’s WCS4 states that large waste management in green belt areas should only be permitted in “very special circumstances” but there is nothing here to suggest this is such a circumstance.

In February 2020, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told a Westminster Halldebate:"...the measures in the resources and waste strategy and the Environment Bill will enable a paradigm shift, in relation to reducing, reusing and recycling our waste, that should limit the amount that ever has to go to incineration and landfill.” Future waste management will require some coordination between local and state governance. The current proposal for an incinerator not only contradicts Nottinghamshire’s guidelines but also goes against the grain of national trends and aspirations in waste management.

Local stakeholders have proposed the alternative of an Energy Hub based on Renewable Energy projects as part of a Green New Deal plan, in Partnership with local Universities and High-tech Science businesses. We would explore schemes for increasing food waste collection and biomass digestion options for the site and seek to return much of the rest of the site to the Green belt. This would be in line with WCS9, in support of new technologies for waste disposal and WCS3 which states that priority should be given to recycling, composting and digestion.

In summary, the current proposal fails to meet the exacting standards of Nottinghamshire’s Waste Core Strategy. Contrary to the aims of the Strategy, the current proposal would represent a step backwards in the county achieving its waste management and environmental goals.

Therefore, we the undersigned call on Nottinghamshire County Council to refuse the planning application for The East Midlands Energy Re-Generation (EMERGE) incinerator.