At 9.00am on Saturday, 25th September 2021, activists blocked the road to the Eastcroft Incinerator to call attention to the harms they say are associated with burning “black bag” waste.
They say that ‘lies being told by both the City and County Council about how “green” incinerators are’.
The blockade included banners, flags, an “Inferno Disco” and a performance – “Fiddling while the whole world burns.”
Nottingham City Council has plans to expand the District Heating powered by Eastcroft, and the County Council have approved a new incinerator to be built at Radcliffe-on-Soar.
City Council Deputy leader Sally Longford previously referred to incineration as a clean, green energy option, which is better than landfill, and also disposes of waste.
Research from ZeroWaste Scotland shows that if waste is properly sorted and pre-treated then sent to landfill it can have a near zero impact on the climate.
Scientist and Campaigner Monica Pallis from West Bridgford says “Politicians and officials seem to be stuck on comparing incineration and landfill. But these are both really bad options. Why aren’t they looking at the better solutions?”
Another report from ClientEarth found that good landfill is significantly better for the climate than the incineration that happens at Eastcroft even when the heat and power Eastcroft produces is factored in.
“Anything at all that can rot or is made from petrochemicals, like ‘non-recyclable’ plastic, will release CO2 into the air if it’s burnt,” said Chemist turned Business Analyst Jack Horner. “Eastcroft has said ‘What you see coming out of the chimney is almost all steam’ – but the danger is the stuff you can’t see. CO2 and a cocktail of dioxins, acid gases, heavy metals and more. These things are harmful to the climate and to humans”.
Sally Longford also says she is pleased that Eastcroft provides “Low-carbon, low-cost energy … for local homes and businesses.” Burning waste for social heating and electricity creates a reliance on having an ongoing supply of waste to burn to tackle fuel poverty.
“This is a despicable situation to put people in. In order to save their heating bills they are forced to be complicit in destroying the environment and contributing to the death and displacement of millions of people. Nottinghamshire is in an excellent position to provide genuinely clean energy through ground source heat pumps using old coal mines.
This really would be something to be pleased about.” said Jack, 46, from Beeston.
The activists are also protesting against Nottinghamshire County Council’s decision to build a new incinerator at Ratcliffe-on-Soar at a cost of an estimated £330 million.
Local Councillor Penny Gowland, who opposes the plans, says: “Incineration is hardly better than landfill. Rather than hiding the rubbish underground we are hiding it in the atmosphere. Bring back ‘penny on a bottle’ for a start!”
Campaigner Kirsty L, aged 21, an Economics student from Rushcliffe said, “That £330 million should be spent on sorting waste properly and real re-cycling. My generation face terrible effects of climate change over the next few decades because of climate-wrecking decisions like these.”
The protest is part of a simultaneous, multi-location, national protest to highlight the “greenwashing” of incineration.