Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 27 January 2011

I was pleased that the South West Devon Waste Partnership recently plumped for the MVV Umvelt (German for Environment) bid to site the Energy from Waste facility in the Dockyard. This makes so much sense. The steam generated from the plant will directly heat the MOD buildings alongside it, saving the MOD a fortune in gas bills. This will help keep the Naval Base alive and protect local jobs. It will also provide sustainable energy for 37,000 homes. The highways system will take the waste-bearing lorries directly to the new facility on major trunk roads. It will solve our waste problems for a generation.
Of course I am biased because it also relieves the pressure on New England Quarry (NEQ), against which many of us have been waging a long-running campaign. Compare the MVV proposal, with all its synergies, to that of the Viridor bid where there was no certainty whether any homes or businesses would benefit from surplus energy and where the lorries would thunder through the narrow streets of Lee Mill. No contest.  Well done the Partnership for making the right decision.
But the danger is not fully past because at the moment, Viridor still threaten to proceed with their planning application for NEQ. I hope they will change their minds because the odds are now stacked against them. If they do continue, I hope we will be able to persuade Devon County Council to kick it out on (not least) highways grounds. I also hope the Environment Agency will continue to be robust about protecting the sensitive environment around NEQ, especially the river. At the very least, Devon have told me that this planning application must now go out to the public for a further consultation, so we can all have our say once again. Please make sure you do; we do not need two Energy from Waste plants just a few miles from each other. At the same time, a local consortium is working up plans to tackle commercial waste with a system that does not need a local incinerator, and I wish them every success.
Although the smart decision made by the Partnership – if followed through – would appear to resolve our waste problem, it is vital that we do not let up on improving our recycling rates. We still lag far behind our European partners on the extent to which we recycle and I am sure we all want to do better.

posted by Gary @ 19:46