WASTE AND RECYCLING COLLECTION SERVICES
At our residents' meeting regarding future waste food collection in Christchurch we were told by the CBC officer and the Portfolio Councillor for refuse/recycling that food would be subject to the process of anaerobic digestion. They were not able to explain the process to us but one of our residents has sent us this link to a very informative site.http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/food_waste.pdf
Thanks to Malcolm Green
The Proposed Waste Incineration Plant at Hurn
Waste Management – Update March 2011
Somerset is working on getting to 60% recycling by Spring 2012. DCC follows much
of what Somerset does and has set this as a target but for some years
away. Regular readers will recall that 60% is what we said was possible
but we were told repeatedly by DCC planners that it was impossible.
Dorset currently achieves about 48% recycling and is behind the game.
89,000 tonnes of Dorset household waste was landfilled in 2010, a further steady reduction over previous years. Even if it had all been processed it would have been only half the capacity of one waste plant! (There was a time when DCC planners were claiming that we would need three such plants as the volume of waste to landfill grew ever larger)Dorset Waste Partnership
The new Dorset Waste Partnership is to merge all Dorset County and District waste operations to force out cost savings. Steve Burdis, the DCC Officer who fought us tooth and nail over the planned waste plant, has just been appointed as Director on almost £70,000 a year salary.
DCC papers show that a new contract for waste processing will start in September 2011 for 6 years. We are assuming that this is the Dorset Waste Partnership contracting separately with New Earth Solutions (rather than piggy-backing on the existing New Earth contract with Bournemouth Council). The New Earth web sites shows then opening and getting agreement for many more waste plants across the country. They seem now to be processing waste and using the gases to generate electricity and starting to use the gasification process.
We joined forces with representatives of West Parley and Hurn in the summer of 2006 and became involved in the fight to prevent DCC building a waste plant adjacent to the school for autistic children at Bournemouth Airport. It quickly became apparent to us that something very strange was going on in the Dorchester Duma. A desire to enter the waste management business was so strong that rational analysis had been replaced by slanted reasoning.
This state of affairs was best illustrated by the strange assumptions that were being made about the future size of Dorset’s population, the future recycling rate of domestic waste and the capacity of local tax payers to afford what was being suggested whilst maintaining other council services. An irresponsible attitude was taken to the risks that tax payers would be asked to bear.
Technical developments in waste processing were emerging that made it most unwise for the council to invest in plant at this time. Virtually from the start of our involvement (the folks in Parley and Ferndown had been battling with this since 2004) we put it to council officers that they would be best advised to enter into partnerships with the private sector (such as for example the plant at Canford Magna that Bournemouth was very quick to latch onto). We urged them to let entrepreneurs take the risks associated with investing in a highly technical, capital intensive field whilst the council concentrated upon increasing the recycling rate of domestic waste.
Unfortunately the ineffectual control exercised by certain Dorset Councillors when combined with the hubris of some of the officers meant that only lip service was paid to what we said. Officers pressed on regardless in their pursuit of a waste plant they could call their own. They hired consultants, entered into legal negotiation to purchase land at Hurn and launched a huge public consultation exercise. They produced a strategy document that amazingly failed to properly address the issue of costs. We have asked but have never really been able to establish exactly how much they spent on all of this but estimates suggest a figure of around £1.6 million of our money since 2006 and significantly more than that (including the cost of a public enquiry in 2005) if one goes back to the very start.
As the economic situation turned against them, we suggested that they would struggle to fund their plans. In addition we reiterated that the cost of finance would be too onerous for taxpayers all to bear. Much has been made of their eventual withdrawal from a PFI bid in excess of £81 million. What is less spoken of is the fact that had they been successful in that bid there would still have been a huge funding shortfall as against their full plans. They never did tell us quite how they would have made up the deficit.
In the end economic reality won the day and in December 2009 their unrealistic plans were scrapped. In making the announcement they said nothing about money but instead concentrated upon recycling rates. By doing that they admitted that we had been correct all along and that had they listened to us we tax payers would have been significantly better off. In the private sector the people associated with this debacle would now be held to account. We shall not hold our breath hoping for a similar outcome in Dorchester.