OPPONENTS of a proposed Resource Recovery Centre in Wrexham brought an Australian expert over to discuss the potential drawbacks of pyrolysis and gasification incineration and to outline possible alternatives.
Representatives of businesses, community groups, community councils and residents came together at the Calypso soft drinks factory to listen to waste expert Miles Lochhead.
The trip was funded by the coalition of Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru (TCC), the Dee Borders Waste Action Group, Ruabon Action Group, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, Kellogg's and Calypso to find out more about waste management and how HLC's proposals are viewed in the waste community.
Mr Lochhead runs a unique resource recovery centre in Wingecarribee Shire Council, New South Wales, Australia. During his presentation, Mr Lochhead shared his experiences of how the planning and operation of this plant was undertaken with support from local government, industry and the community.
'I support a holistic approach to sustainability and do not favour high energy solutions for waste reduction,' he said.
'Incineration is a negative step for dealing with waste. Once you burn a product, its state becomes altered and it cannot be reused.
'The model we have developed at our Resource Recovery Centre places a total emphasis on recycling and reuse and I would urge any local authority considering incinerators as a viable method of dealing with waste to think outside the box and take into account viable alternatives which do not harm the environment, industry or the health of the community.'
Concern about the plans submitted by HLC for a resource recovery centre on Wrexham Industrial Estate dominated the meeting.
Calypso Soft Drinks and Kellogg's, who both have factories on the Industrial Estate, expressed concern that the siting of any centre which involved the largely untested processes of pyrolysis and gasification would impact negatively upon perceptions of the estate as a high profile, high value strategic employment site.
The audience also heard a graphic account from Teresa Brzoza, who wrote a letter to be read out at the meeting on behalf of Parents Against Incineration (PAIN), describing the daily reality of living next door to the HLC plant in Neath, Port Talbot.
The letter recounted problems including offensive odours, flies, the outbreak of a fire, and mechanical and operational failures.