Roadblock First incinerator lorries stopped by protest
CAMPAIGNERS from Extinction Rebellion blocked the first lorries carrying rubbish into the Javelin Park incinerator.
The environmental group has carried out a string of protests against the incinerator and its environmental impact.
Protesters posed as ‘law enforcement officers’ to check the incoming lorries for recyclable waste which is not allowed to be disposed of at the incinerator.
Among the fake officers was the group’s co-founder Simon Blackwell.
He said: “We are prepared to come back every day. We are prepared to get arrested and go to jail for our beliefs.
“I know there are people here who are prepared to stay all day and night if we are refused.
“It becomes a bit of a Mexican standoff.”
The protesters blocked the first six lorries from entering the plant run by Urbaser Balfour Beatty.
UBB offered the protesters the chance of watching a live stream of the waste entering the incinerator but would not grant a first hand inspection to the group.
The protestor refused and the stalemate continued until further discussions prompted the group to stand down more than three hours after the first lorry arrived.
Protester Katarina Hasapopoulos said the group would be back in the future.
During the protest, the group sang inspirational songs to keep morale high and handed out home-made slices of Madeira cake to everyone involved, including the bemused lorry drivers.
Among those at the protest as a witness was Tom Jarman, director of Community R4C which has taken Gloucestershire County Council to court over the award of the £600m incinerator contract .
In a latter to the Environment Agency he wrote: “The letter sets out, in particular the failure to implement any presort of incoming waste (to remove recyclable material) and the contract structure which discourages recycling.”
The letter declared “a ‘stop notice’ to immediately stop all commissioning trials and not to receive residual waste until this matter is properly investigated.”
Community R4C is proposing alternative methods of waste disposal that involve extracting renewable materials then moulding them down to biomass pellets.
The remaining residual waste which would be “far smaller”, according to Mr Jarman, should then be put in to landfill.
He added: “It has to be well managed though. I am careful about saying that line because landfills are seen as ‘evil’ but I believe carbon emissions are more evil.”
The protest had a knock-on effect for parts of Gloucester with waste collections delayed in the city.
Gloucester City Council said: “Household waste from Longlevens was due to be delivered to Javelin Park.
“Unfortunately, due to protesters blocking the site, waste collection vehicles have been redirected to another site.
“This has caused some collections to be delayed.”
Work on the Energy from Waste Facility began in 2016 with the council saying it would save taxpayers £100m over 25 years and power 25,000 homes.
A council spokesman said: “Javelin Park will effectively treat the county’s household waste that can’t be reduced, reused or recycled - reducing carbon emissions by 40,000 tonnes a year when compared to landfill and saving taxpayers £100million over the next 25 years.”
In January, Extinction Rebellion were among groups who gathered at the site and burned fake money, calling for an independent inquiry into the way the contract was awarded.
Last month, campaigners returned to the site for a protest that brought traffic to a halt on roads near the site.
The Extinction Rebellion protest as the first refuse lorries arrive