York Residents Against Incineration

Waste Volumes

The financial case for the incinerator project is underpinned by assumptions made about what waste will do in York and North Yorkshire over the next 25 years. These were made in 2005, so we can already compare them with reality.

The ‘assumed waste volumes’ increase steadily across the time period (see page three of this appendix to a 2010 report to the CoYC Executive). Yet, as this ‘Waste Strategy Procurement Update’ from the City of York Council says, “The waste arisings peaked in 2004/05 at 123510, since then there has been a gradual reduction in the amount of waste collected in York”. This reduction was not predicted by the earlier Waste Strategy documents, which also forecast continual growth.

Have a look:

York and North Yorkshire Waste Volumes compared with Waste Strategy Predictions

York and North Yorkshire Waste Volumes compared with Waste Strategy Predictions


This in itself should have prompted a re-think, but none of it. With nary a mention of how wrong they got it before, in 2014 project officers continue to predict steadily increasing waste volumes – giving Councillors a carefully filtered view of things:

Projections shown to Councillors - and the fuller picture (click to enlarge)

Now add to this the announcement in May 2012 of the EU’s “Resource Efficient Europe” resolution. The EU voted (with an overwhelming majority) to adopt an EU-wide Zero-Waste Strategy (yes, the thing we’ve been calling for since 2006) and ban the incineration and landfill of all recyclable and compostable waste by 2020. The resolution was welcomed withEarly Day Motion 383 by the 2012 UK Parliament, which also notes the ‘growing evidence of incinerator overcapacity in the UK by 2015’.

It’s generally reckoned that 80% of household waste is recyclable. So if the Councils manage to take this out, what happens?

Graph of waste volumes to 2020

Waste volumes to 2020 - an alternative projection

Even if we achieve a 60% recycling/composting rate (which is already being managed in several areas of the UK), we aren’t left with enough to feed the incinerator. If the EU pushes us toward 80% we haven’t a chance. If the MBT plant were three times the size and the incinerator half the size… maybe.

Any this is all assuming no further decrease in waste volumes!

The Councils has one particular  straw to which they cling: use commercial waste to make up the shortfall in GMT. Leaving aside the argument that taxpayers are then paying to create a service that the Council will charge businesses for there is another problem with this. The latest figures supplied by the County show that in 2009/10, 36,000 tonnes of commercial waste was dealt with by York and North Yorkshire Waste partnership – and this figure is falling line with household waste. It’s might make up the shortfall for a few years to begin with, but the plant is still grossly oversized, and the Council would be  competing with AmeyCespa for commercial waste!

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