Public banned from special recycling meeting for ‘health and safety’
Public and press have been banned from a special scrutiny meeting about Sheffield Council’s recycling performance due to ‘health and safety reasons’.
The economic and environmental scrutiny committee is due to meet on Tuesday at the incinerator on Bernard Road to debate a report outlining how the city’s waste is handled.
Traditionally, all scrutiny meetings are held in public to allow for questions from the general public.
However councillors are concerned this decision will put people off getting involved in the debate and eat into committee scrutiny time.
Councillor Douglas Johnson, leader of Sheffield Green Party, said: “It’s ridiculous.
“It will absolutely put people off questioning at the meeting. Even if they were allowing the public to come it is still out of the way. The Town Hall is right in the city centre so it’s the perfect place, the tour of the incinerator could be done at a different time.
“It’s really important they have the right and accessibility to attend meetings.”
He added that himself and Green Party colleague Coun Paul Turpin, who sits on the committee, had already visited the incinerator in their own time before the local elections this year.
Coun Turpin said the tour alone took around 20 minutes and about two hours were also spent ‘quizzing’ staff about the process involved.
He added: “Looking at the report, I don’t think Sheffield has done very well in recycling.”
The report showed Sheffield had significantly reduced the amount that goes to landfill in favour of burning around two thirds at the incinerator which had increased considerably.
The incinerator is also called an ERF – energy recovery facility. It works by burning rubbish which produces CO2, a greenhouse gas that is contributing to the climate crisis. The process also provides energy to National Grid and the city’s District Energy Network.
Coun Turpin said the incinerator was the second biggest producer of CO2 in the city and was just as harmful as sending waste to landfill.
Coun Turpin said: “It’s disheartening for people when they see how little Sheffield is recycling, we don’t want that. We want the council to sort it out.”
People can still send questions for the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org via email.