The Alternative»


Hatfield against Incineration (HAI) and Herts WithOutWaste (Herts WOW) are not just campaigning against incineration;

we are campaigning for a cleaner and better management of waste for Hertfordshire both in the short term and for

future generations. We understand this is not an easy option and will involve each and every one of us taking

responsibility and making a commitment to help the County Council core aim of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. However,

we do not agree that one massive incinerator plant in any one place in Hertfordshire with a committed contract of 30

years is consistent with this aim. It may be an easy option but it is not the right one if we take into consideration:

• Incineration creates CO2, which contributes to global warming

• Incineration emits small particles which are dangerous to health

• Incineration needs a large plant and a long term contract in order to make the investment viable and a constant

provision of the volume of waste it was originally build for.

• Incineration cannot be scaled down as recycling increases and so reduces the incentive for high recycling rates.

• No one area should have to suffer the visual impact of such a plant, traffic volume and noise and the

pollution emissions for the whole of Hertfordshire – it is undemocratic.

What we favour is:

An enthusiastic, innovative and revolutionary recycling program with high recycling levels (above 70%) as already

achieved elsewhere, and pressure to reduce waste e.g. eliminating unnecessary packaging, not developing products

which are not recyclable, strict commercial guidelines etc.

Severe penalties for non conformity.

For residual waste we want methods which:

  • Minimise emissions of greenhouse gases (such as CO2, methane and nitrous oxide). Both landfill and incineration increase them.
    • Do not produce pollutants and emissions harmful to health.
      Provide small local treatment sites which can be scaled down as recycling increases and has less impact on a local area.
    • Do not tie Herts County Council into long contracts with commercial firms.

    Link to PDF of Diagram


    MBT (mechanical biological treatment) separates out the elements of the residual waste and recovers more recyclables (metals and plastics). For instance the water-based ArrowBio system works better than the dry systems for separating out the recyclables and plastic film etc. (see Jupiter study and other reports in our references). Its AD (anaerobic digestion) system with high water content produces cleaner and better stabilized compost-like output (CLO) for use as a soil improver and a greater proportion of high quality methane gas.
    The stated requirement for landfill starts at 41,250 tonnes/year for the inert material. This should reduce significantly over the 10 year period as waste minimization strategies start to work. Some of these materials will be diverted from landfill by new developments in re-usage/recycling and by eliminating the materials that cannot be used.
    If there will be insufficient brownfield site capacity for surface usage of the compost-like output, it could be put in landfill without penalty (because it is stabilized by the AD process). As the waste stream is cleaned up by improved recycling/re-use and by elimination or diversion of toxic materials, the CLO will become usable on agricultural land.
    N.B. The incinerator will produce 79,750 tonnes/year of eco-toxic bottom ash and hazardous waste fly ash. All the fly ash (11,000 tonnes) will have to go to special landfill, whilst most if not all the bottom ash can go to general landfill.
    Cost The cost over 25 years of the incinerator is estimated at around £1 billion (that’s £1,000 million). The cost of the alternative proposal outlined here would be around £200 million. In it, the end of the 10-15 year contract should allow decommissioning of one or more of the plants, reducing the annual costs of dealing with the falling amounts of residual waste.
    Zero-waste means having nothing to dispose of to landfill or to incineration. It is the only strategy which moves waste management up the waste hierarchy in line with the vision of the Herts Waste Core Strategy. As well as legislation, zero-waste requires the involvement of the community, business, educational establishments and local government. For instance a research centre linked to a local university monitoring what waste is going to landfill could come up with strategies for how to use those materials and for what needs to be done to capture them for recycling, also to identify what needs to be eliminated from the waste stream.
    Zero-waste strategies create jobs, improve sustainability by reducing resource consumption (including energy), reduce carbon emissions, trap carbon rather than releasing it as incinerators do, benefit the local economy (rather than large corporations),and reduce the need for imports.
    Zero-waste is currently the aim of more than 135 authorities around the world, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Canberra, 70% of authorities in New Zealand and several cities and towns in Italy and Spain.
    Trade names and marks cited here as sources of illustrative figures are the property of their respective owners.








    UK Without Incineration Network

    Herts WithOut Waste

    Ware Burning Issue Group

    Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance






    “Hatfield Against Incineration” is a non-party-political group founded by residents of Hatfield and Welham Green.


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