York Residents Against Incineration

The BCB hazardous waste plant caught fire on Wednesday morning. This is the site at which BCB has wanted to build an incinerator since 2008, and were in the process of appealing against the refusal they received. We’ll probably hear no more of that.

The fire was reported to have started at about 4am. Residents were advised to stay indoor and close their windows as firefighters tackled the blaze for over three hours (York Press article 11th Aug). The Environment Agency confirmed that toxic chemicals had leaked from the site, and despite efforts to contain them some leaked into Tockwith Beck, poisoning the river (York Press article 12th Aug).

The fire at the site comes at a portentous time, as York and North Yorkshire Councillors are poised to sign off on a £900 million waste facility. Whilst the council may prefer to focus on the proposed digester and MBT (recycling reclaimation) plant, it is the incinerator that is at the heart of this plan. The plant will burn about 70% of the waste it sees.

Of course, the Council officer, Councillors and waste industry magnates all assure us that modern incinerators are totally unlike the terrible burners of the 70s and 80s. And you might be inclined to accept their monitoring evidence showing that under normal conditions, emissions do seem to be quite low – even though there is no safe minimum level of dioxin pollution. But then something like the Tockwith fire happens.

Wednesday’s Tockwith fire (its third in as many years) isn’t an isolated example. In August 2003 the one-year-old Crymlyn Burrows incinerator in Wales burned for four days. It caught fire again in February this year – after the Council had to step in to take it over when the operator went bankrupt. The Sita site in Teesside caught fire in August 2009. Edmonton’s incinerator did the same in November 2008, and the Byker incinerator in Newcastle managed it in May 2001. The state-of-the-art Kirklees incinerator exploded and leaked poisonous gas in September 2006. Dundee’s incinerator (built 1999), infamous for multiple breaches of dioxin levels, caught fire in September 1999, shortly after it was built. It did it again in January 2002. The Council there has had to buy the plant and pay off its losses to keep it running.

Couldn’t happen here, could it?

(Part of this post appeared in an edited version as a letter in The Press, Aug 14th)

Comments are closed.

Copyright © York Residents Against Incineration. All rights reserved.
Powered by WordPress, design based on one created by High Impact.