Heat turned up in row over ‘importing’ waste

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LORRIES are set to bring rubbish from across the region to the incinerator in Bernard Road, despite protests from environmental groups.

The complex has spare capacity because the volume of waste from householders has gone down as recycling has gone up - and there is not enough from commercial operators.

But the council, which sets the conditions for Bernard Road, near Hyde Park, looks like restricting the catchment area for operator Veolia to avoid lorries travelling longer distances.

Councillors will be advised next week to agree to rubbish being taken from Rotherham, Barnsley, North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield after drawing the line at Doncaster, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, High Peak and Derbyshire Dales.

And the proposed agreement includes a limit of six years, by which time other local authorities are expected to have produced their own ways of disposing of waste with as little environmental impact as possible.

Sheffield’s ‘Energy Recovery Facility’ opened in 2006, producing electricity for the National Grid and powering the District Heating System, which is linked to more than 140 buildings in and around the city centre.

The council’s waste strategy gives priority to recycling, then to incineration as an alternative to landfill. At present, 15% to 17% of the city’s rubbish is dumped.

Current conditions mean no more than 10% of the city’s waste going through Bernard Road comes from outside Sheffield, which means a limit of 22,500 tonnes a year. Now Veolia wants to increase the total to 50,000 tonnes.

Objections have been lodged by Sheffield Green Party, Sheffield Friends of the Earth and by 22 residents.

Central ward Green councillor Jillian Creasy said: “As we’ve said many times before, Sheffield Council got itself into a very difficult situation.

“It should never have given permission for such a big incinerator to be built. Before Veolia imports waste from other authorities, they need to show that all possible sources of local waste, such as commercial and industrial that would not otherwise be recycled, are being fully used.”

One objector says: “It seems crazy to me that in an era when we are trying to save the planet from climate change and its effects we should be encouraging people to burn more rubbish.”

Council officers accept the case for increasing the efficiency of Bernard Road in the short term - and maximising the benefits to the District Heat and Power System “which results in significant CO2 savings”.

They also say “there are likely to be no significant impacts on traffic or air quality as the imported waste is likely to be delivered in a smaller number of bulk vehicles”. Councillors decide on Monday.