I initially wrote off the Mayor’s press release yesterday as yet another attempt to convince people that Waste for London would be a good wheeze. Another press release from Hammersmith & Fulham sent to me this afternoon, which essentially argues for the Belvedere incinerator in particular, made me re-read what the Mayor’s office is saying and it looks to me like he is coming round to a view that incineration may well have a place. Or maybe he is so desperate to hold onto his WfL dream that he doesn’t mind if he flip-flops on Belvedere in the process.
He says in paragraph 3:
The Mayor believes that Londonâ€™s rubbish should be recycled and that new technologies, which can extract both heat and energy from waste should be used for the rubbish that cannot be recycled. The days of landfill are over and the Mayor does not support mass burn incineration. However even with the old technologies and incinerators that London currently has, London is missing a real opportunity to cut emissions by not extracting heat from waste. If this process was used in the four incinerators existing and planned, in or around the capital, the provision of heat and hot water to nearly 100,000 homes could save 670,000 tonnes of carbon, the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions as six million people travelling by plane to Paris, the equivalent of 30,000 return journeys.
The Mayor seems to be differentiating between “mass burn incineration”, I think he has just coined this term to get himself out of a self-dug hole, and “new technologies, which can extract both heat and energy from waste should be used for the rubbish that cannot be recycled” – in other words incineration. The Belvedere incinerator is just such a new-style incinerator but one which the Mayor has been fighting. It seems the Mayor is finally admitting that incineration has a place in London.
The impression is reinforced by note 1:
By extracting heat from waste we could make significant savings on carbon emissions. We would save 670,000 tonnes of carbon emissions which is the equivalent of 30,000 return plane journeys from London to Paris, six million passenger journeys to Paris through the heating of nearly 100,000 homes. Belvedere incinerator could receive waste from Essex and Sussex if it opens it doors.
Doesn’t the last line endorse Belvedere? Perhaps the Mayor doesn’t want any more judges telling him that his case is “totally without merit”, see previous posting.