Road­block First in­cin­er­a­tor lor­ries stopped by protest

Gloucestershire Echo - - IN BRIEF - Sa­muel PORT sa­[email protected]­plc.com

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.

Pic­tures: Mark Watkins

The Ex­tinc­tion Re­bel­lion protest as the first refuse lor­ries ar­rive

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