Brief scene-setting information on the Waste Issue in Cornwall and in the Transition Falmouth catchment area: plus a summary of possible issues to be addressed by Transition Falmouth with links to further sources of information.
Special Interest Area : Waste
Recent Developments (as at March 2007): –
- Cornwall County Council (Waste Disposal Authority) has signed a thirty-year contract with French company SITA for the disposal and recycling of household waste across various sites in Cornwall
- SITA is contracted to up-grade existing recycling centres and introduce new re-use and recycling facilities across the county. The programme of refurbishment has just started (leading initially to the reduction of re-use facilities at some centres on health and safety grounds). A new re-use centre has now opened at Mount Hawke nr. St.Agnes in conjunction with Westcountry Recycling
All proposed new waste management facilities are subject to planning permission and it is the Waste Development Framework (produced by CCC as Waste Planning Authority) which provides the planning policy framework for developing the full package of preferred options and sites for the management of both household and trade waste. The interim WDF (June 2006) is currently being finalised and is likely to go out for public comment in May 2007. In the meantime, planning applications can still be submitted against the criteria adopted in the Waste Local Plan (2002)
The Local Scene – Re-Use and Recycling Centres
There is currently no dedicated re-use or recycling centre serving the Transition Falmouth catchment area. The key proposals in the Waste Development Framework (June 2006) for improving the levels of recycling locally are for :-
- a Resource Management Park located at the Docks in Falmouth
- a Household Waste and Recycling Centre located at Carveth, Mabe (between Longdowns and the Treliever round-a-bout) just off the A394
(More details on these proposals can be found in the WDF report (June 2006) – copies of which are to be found in the Library or on www.cornwall.gov.uk/wasteoptions (*)
Other current facilities in the Transition Falmouth catchment area include a number of “Bring” centres – mainly at supermarket and local authority car-parks eg the Quarry, Falmouth; Asda, Penryn and Co-op, Ponsharden, Falmouth.
The Local Area is also served by separately contracted Household Waste Kerb-side Collection Services run by Kerrier and Carrick District Councils. This waste is processed at centres at Pool and at Truro for onward transmission.
It has been estimated by CCC that, once all efforts at waste reduction, re-use and recycling have been exhausted, there will be around 240,000 tonnes of residual household waste remaining to be dealt with.
The principal solution proposed in the Waste Local Plan (2002) – given that landfill is now the option of last resort and is rapidly becoming limited – is for a single energy-from-waste incinerator to be sited in the mid-Cornwall area. There is provision for this development in the Waste Development Framework (2006) and it is expected that SITA will submit a planning application for such provision in the near future.
Concerns have been expressed that this (centralised) approach :-
- is contrary to the “proximity principle” involving excessive transport movements thus contributing to climate change
- provides a serious disincentive to achieving higher rates of waste reduction, re-use and recycling
- creates an actual and/or perceived adverse effect on the well-being of local communities
- does not allow for embracing new waste technologies (30 year commitment)
- deters communities from taking responsibility for their own waste
- may affect perceptions about Cornwall’s “brand” as a green peninsula and the marketability of Cornish food products
(for a detailed analysis of these and other concerns about the proposed single energy-from-waste incinerator see “The Case for a Public Inquiry” set out by Matthew Taylor MP (July 2006) – posted on www.st-ig.co.uk)
Advocates of the single-plant approach argue that this is the most effective and efficient method of dealing with our residual waste, with no adverse effects on health, and that co-existence with recycling activities has been proven across Europe.
A Transition Falmouth perspective
As Falmouth, Penryn, and the surrounding area moves towards a “low carbon, low energy future” there will be major implications for the way we view and deal with our Waste. This process could involve Transition Falmouth in exploring ways of :-
- achieving much greater reductions in waste at source
- raising levels of re-use and recycling : this could include :-
- commenting on the proposed improvements in the network of re-use and recycling centres
- seeking higher levels of kerb-side recycling across district council areas
- greater co-ordination of waste management practices in the area (and beyond)
- encouraging establishment of local community-based waste projects
- improved local information on opportunities for recycling and re-use
- reflecting on the wisdom of the proposed single, energy-from-waste plant approach to residual waste – this could include exploring different approaches based on more local and smaller-scale solutions and alternative technologies (see Waste Local Plan “Alternative EFW Provision”)
- seeking to influence policy and practice in respect of commercial/trade waste
- commenting on the revised WDF and keeping the SITA contract under scrutiny
- disseminating information through talks discussion and networking
Sources of Information/Links
Cornwall County Council: 01872 322000 (for Waste Local Plan: Waste Development Framework: and the Waste Discussion Forum) www.cornwall.gov.uk/waste (*)
SITA – Cornwall: Helpline 0845 6300 300 www.sita.co.uk/local-authorities/integrated-waste/cornwall
Kerrier District Council Waste Management: www.kerrier.gov.uk *
Carrick District Council Waste Management: www.carrick.gov.uk *
Cornwall Waste Action: www.wasteaction.org.uk *
St.Dennis Incinerator Group: www.st-ig.co.uk
Cornwall Sustainable Energy Partnership: www.csep.co.uk
As more useful contacts become known and available they can be added to this web-site.
* Cornwall Waste Action website closed as of 2014, other content no longer on Cornwall Council website as of April 2021 update