Saturday, September 16, 2006

Why Wrexham still landfills 90% of its waste

guildhall protest 04

It is clear from Wrexham's Unitary Development Plan (UDP) 1996 - 2011, which was only adopted by the council on 14th February 2005, that the council doesn't understand any of the ethical or environmental issues around landfill. We don't want landfill because it's smelly, noisy, polluting, dangerous, wasteful, makes people's lives a misery etc. Wrexham council is only looking at alternatives to landfill because there aren't enough big holes to chuck our rubbish in, because landfill tax is costly and because the council has to meet European Directives and the National Strategy. See for yourself in this extract from the UDP:

11.13 Waste Management in Wrexham has traditionally focused on landfilling. However, sites suitable for landfilling are becoming scarcer and the costs imposed by the landfill tax are likely to make this form of waste management less attractive in any event. A more sustainable approach towards waste management is also required in order to conform with the relevant European Directives and with the National Waste Strategy for Wales. Accordingly there is now a need to take a more comprehensive view of waste management.

But Hafod Quarry is one huge hole. It has an estimated capacity of 5.5 million cubic metres, considerably larger than all other remaining landfill capacity in North Wales put together. Given the above, it is fair to assume that Wrexham council's reasoning for letting dumping go ahead at the quarry goes like this:
  • it's a great big hole with plenty of room
  • someone else (whoever's dumping there) has to pay the landfill tax
  • compliance with the European Directives is Merseyside's problem
  • It's English waste, so doesn't affect the National Waste Strategy targets for Wales
In theory (although very probably not in practice), council officers only do what the councillors tell them to do, and the councillors are elected by us and answerable to us. We need to make sure all our councillors are in no doubt that:
  • landfill at Hafod is unacceptable to the people of Wrexham
  • landfill at Hafod will cause misery for local people with noise, smell, traffic etc.
  • landfill at Hafod Quarry will pollute the local environment
  • Merseyside should sort out its recycling and re-use schemes (as should Wrexham) so it doesn't need to export its unsorted waste to other places
The Recycle with Michael scheme has made some improvements to the situation in Wrexham, but it is still far too little. The Merseyside schemes are generally just as poor. What is needed is a comprehensive policy to work towards zero waste. Other councils are doing this, but what it needs is political will.

Every single letter in this week's Wrexham weekly Leader was about and opposed to landfill at Hafod. Keep up the pressure.

You can contact your councillor and other elected representatives by clicking here.


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