FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Swansea incinerator refusal 'amounts to a failure of common sense'. - 52M Consulting Limited

Swansea incinerator refusal 'amounts to a failure of common sense'.

That's the view of 23-year waste industry veteran and stakeholder engagement specialist Lee Petts at 52M.


Petts, a Chartered Waste Manager, is the managing director of 52M Consulting, a business he founded 17 years ago.

He said that while campaigners opposed to the plans to build a modest waste-to-energy incinerator at Llansamlet would be celebrating it as a victory, the council's decision to refuse planning permission was a 'major error in judgement.'

"Given that the Welsh government has only recently declared a climate emergency¹ this is no time to be ruling-out the generation of energy from residual waste in favour of continuing to send it to landfill some thirty miles away.

"Not only will trucking waste to Merthyr Tidfil create avoidable transport pollution, landfill is responsible for methane emissions that can be hard to contain and capture, and instead are released into the atmosphere. The short-term global warming potential of methane is higher than that of the CO2 that would be released by the proposed incinerator.

"There is a strong environmental case for burning waste that can't be recycled and extracting its latent energy content, helping to displace fossil fuels in electricity generation - it's why so many countries that we regard as 'green exemplars' make such widespread use of waste-to-energy incineration. The decision by Swansea city councillors to refuse planning permission in this instance amounts to a failure of common sense."

Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden that are seen as environmental leaders all derive significant amounts of renewable electricity from waste according to data from the International Energy Agency².

Another common non-landfill alternative for the disposal of residual, non-recyclable waste sees it converted into Refuse Derived Fuel or RDF which is then exported abroad and burned in incinerators oversees.

"Sending non-recyclable waste to landfill in the UK is bad enough, but sending it to other countries to incinerate, including those with ageing facilities in places like Lithuania where the technology and regulations are significantly outdated compared to ours, is even worse - and yet that's what happens to millions of tonnes of waste that arises in the UK every year³. It's surely better all round if we can avoid that but it means building more new waste-to-energy capacity at home," concluded Petts.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

52M Consulting Limited is a stakeholder engagement and communications consultancy. It works with sectors and projects engage and inform relevant audiences, and mobilise genuine supporters of controversial yet critical infrastructure projects.
Lee Petts is a Chartered Waste Manager and Member of the Public Relations and Communications Association.

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