The person who will finally decide whether the Mega-Incinerator will be built in Wisbech is the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng.
If you read his job description, he is responsible for ensuring that the country has secure energy supplies that are Reliable, Affordable and Clean. On top of that he is also responsible for making sure that the UK is Tackling Climate change.
With his remit it is hard to see how he could justifiably endorse the building of a Mega-Incinerator in Wisbech.
Firstly, burning rubbish to generate electricity is not Reliable. This is why electricity production by this method only accounts for 2.4% of all electricity generated. Incinerator companies struggle to maintain a constant supply of rubbish to burn due to increased recycling targets being met. Furthermore, in 2025 a law is coming out that all food waste must be collected separately which means that incinerator companies will lose one quarter of their available burnable rubbish overnight. Further legislation limiting the use of non recyclable packaging will further limit supplies of burnable rubbish. This is why many incinerator companies especially those on the continent to resort to importing rubbish from abroad and why most incinerators run well below optimal efficiency.
Secondly, the government may see it as Affordable as they don’t have to pay to build this massive incinerator. However, it is the public that bears the true cost. Local authorities have to pay (with our taxes) for incinerator companies to burn the rubbish even though they are generating ‘free; electricity which they can sell to make enormous profits. Incinerator companies also don’t pay any carbon tax. We, the public, also pay with our health. Incinerator stacks are not 100% effective in removing minute particles of poisonous heavy metals and toxic chemicals which we breathe, and which gets washed into the soil and taken up by the crops that we eat. In addition, the massive increase in lorry traffic (300 lorry movements a day) delivering rubbish from all over the country, destroys our roads, creating endless potholes and road collapses which we have to pay to have fixed. The other ‘hidden’ cost to the residents of Wisbech is that house prices plummet. So, to the people of Wisbech an incinerator is nowhere near ‘Affordable.’
Thirdly, the Secretary of States job is to make sure that the methods for creating energy are Clean. Incinerators are far from clean. In spite of efforts to filter the exhaust emissions, small toxic particles escape from the stack which we breathe in. The fact that 300 diesel lorries a day from all over the country will pass in and out of Wisbech on our roads adds to this pollution. Finally, after a burn, there is a build up of toxic ash in the furnace which has to be recovered and transported out of Wisbech in lorries for disposal somewhere.
Lastly, the Secretary of State is charged with making sure that we, as a country, Tackle Climate change. The UK have made a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050. This incinerator is designed to last 40 years and so in terms of being carbon neutral it will be obsolete well before its time is up. In addition, incinerators are filthy, generating 13% of all the CO2 we produce in this country. Allowing the building of an incinerator in Wisbech is not Tackling Climate Change. It is making it worse.
So, if Kwasi Kwarteng sticks to his job description there is no way he should endorse the building of a Mega-incinerator in Wisbech. He might need reminding of this so please write to him now with your objections.
All data and information obtained from