Monday, 23 November 2009

Bang Goes The Theory

It is really extraordinary that within months of preliminary opening "non-conforming waste" blew up the furnace at Lakeside.This is no banana republic,but if the system can let in propane gas cylinders (a very well known incinerator hazard) what else will it not let in.This is an appalling indictment of control standards in our newest incinerator licensed to burn radioactivity.

This from UKWIN:

On this occasion the problem occurred during the commissioning trials which started in June 2009. In August 2009 some non-conforming waste containing gas cylinders was delivered in defiance of the plant’s tight specification for its waste acceptance criteria. Only municipal solid waste from collection rounds and some office and retail commercial wastes is contracted to be delivered into the Lakeside plant.

Unfortunately, the gas cylinders not only got into the Lakeside waste bunker but were picked up by the grab and fed through to one of the two boiler feeds to the furnace and exploded, causing damage which has had to be repaired. In addition, the whole bunker of waste had to be sorted to ensure that any other non-conforming wastes were eliminated. The plant will therefore not be fully operational until 2010, two years late.

The 400,000 tonne-a-year capacity Lakeside Energy from Waste Ltd plant is a 50:50 joint venture between the largest privately-owned waste management companies, Grundon, which is based in the Colnbrook area and Viridor, a subsidiary of the major water company Pennon, which is based in the south west of England.

The original £160 million budget for the plant’s development will be exceeded by a considerable amount…

Despite the fact that the site is only a few metres outside the Greater London boundary, only a limited amount of waste is going from London into the Lakeside plant. Waste is contracted to come from Wiltshire 120km to the west, Dorset 80km to the south of the plant and more locally from Slough and Berkshire. Clearly there is a need to rationalise waste movements within England in order to minimise the adverse impacts of the excessive and potentially unnecessary transport of waste…

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Nuclear waste,the IPC,No Copper-bottom Guarantee

Nuclear waste moved off the agenda!

(courtesy of Environmental Research Web and Dr.David Lowry)

The government’s new draft National Policy Statement on nuclear power, indicating which issues the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) should take on board, and which it can ignore, contains this remarkable statement:
“The Government is satisfied that effective arrangements will exist to manage and dispose of the waste that will be produced from new nuclear power stations. As a result the IPC need not consider this question.” The draft statement goes on to say that: “Geological disposal will be preceded by safe and secure interim storage.”
So it seems, the waste issue is all in hand and we needn’t bother too much about it, or any problems with the much more active spent fuel that the new reactors’ high-fuel “burn-up” approach will create. Despite the fact that the highly active spent fuel is to be kept on site at the plant for perhaps several decades, that is evidently not something IPC will have to consider in its assessment of whether the proposed plants can go ahead. Instead the IPC will just focus on any conventional local planning and environmental impact issues that may emerge in relation to the 10 new nuclear plants that the government has now backed.
Quite apart from the issue of on-site spent fuel storage, there are plenty of other issues to discuss. For example, the risk of flooding in the years ahead, as climate change begins to bite. Dungeness was dropped off the original 11 strong list, due to local eco-issues, including, we hear, concerns about flood risks. That leaves the following, all of them also coastal sites, although allegedly less at risk: Bradwell, Hartlepool, Heysham, Hinkley Point, Oldbury, Sellafield, Sizewell and Wylfa, all existing sites, plus newcomers Braystones, and Kirksanton, both in Cumbria.
Friends of the Earth (FoE) nevertheless remains concerned: “The IPC is an unelected, undemocratic body – the new Commissioners aren’t directly accountable to the people their decisions will affect. It’s going to be very difficult for local people to get their voices heard, especially with key documents being so technical and opportunities to attend inquiries so few. If people are unhappy with the process they’ll have to take the matter to court, which is extremely difficult and costly.”
Here is another urgent and contemporary reason that nuclear waste has to be considerd by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC)as part of its evaluation of the merits or otherwise of applications to build new nuclear power plants.
• When marine archaeologists in 1956 discovered the hull of the Vasa warship, submerged in the mud of Stockholm harbour since it sunk minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628, little could they have thought that this remarkable raising of the King Gustavus Adolphus’s flagship five years later in 1961 could scupper attempts to bury nuclear waste over four decades later
• As the British nuclear industry gears up to build a new fleet of nuclear reactors, the pressure to demonstrate a solution to the long term management of nuclear waste, its plans to adopt the Swedish system of nuclear waste disposal looks as if it might have hit the rocks.
• And what is making waves is the discovery that copper, the metal key to sealing-in the highly radioactive waste placed into the planned repository from the biosphere, corrodes. A new paper by several scientists at the respected Swedish Academy of Sciences (supported by Russian and Canadian colleagues) reports findings on their examination of the integrity of copper artefacts raised from the harbour mud after 333 years of being submerged. To their surprise they found that, from observation and analysis, contrary to accepted received wisdom copper corrodes, even when not exposed to oxygen.
• The Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (Svensk Kärnbränslehantering AB, SKB) is charged with the responsiblity for the safety of the final repository for spent nuclear fuel. And may now have to return to the drawing board if copper proves an inadequate shieled to sheath the radioactively hot nuclear waste.• SKB’s chosen method of final disposal dubbbed ‘KBS-3’, and they have carried out technical research at its research facilities in Oskarshamn, in south east Sweden: the Canister Laboratory has developed encapsulation techniques and the nearby Äspö Laboratory uses its subterranean caverns to test rock suitablity and back-fill media.
• The high level radioactive waste will have to be emplaced for 100,00 years, the period over which the radiotoxicity of the irradiated fuel decays to become comparable to the radiotoxicity of the natural uranium used to produce the fresh nuclear fuel.
• Doubts also cast over suitability of underground emplacement in ancient bedrock due to volcanic activity over the period its would have to remain stably stored.
• It may well mean the current interim store, CLAB, adjoining the Oskarshamn reactor site, may have to extend its storage ponds, build forty meters underground, looking just like a set from a Bond film, as the storage ponds glow with an eerily manacing deep blue.
• The painstaking preparation work done by several scientific teams- even counting the numbers of ants, rodents, bats, deer and giant elk living in the candiate disposal area, may all go to waste. For the Swedish nuclear industry, this is an acute crisis, as it, like the UK, wants to add new reactors to a fleet that already prides nearly half Sweden’s power. The full multi-volume environmental impact assessment is due to be published in December.
• On Monday 16 November a colloquium will be held in Stockholm, bringing together some of the world’s best corrosion experts to evaluate the Swedish discoveries. The future of not just the Swedish nuclear industry, but Britain’s too could hang on what this scientific meeting

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Fallujah's birth defects..a crime against humanity?

There is a serious issue about will be played out in the press...and possibly in the UN,if the Americans don't censor it as usual.

Of course its the depleted and undepleted Uranium...but it is ironic that,when wanting to squirm away from shells, a spokesman said it could be either radiation,chemicals or particulates!
The graph shows what happened to birth defects in Devon when an incinerator started up!

List of Incinerators of Radioactive Waste

Here is a list of incinerators that burn radioactive material. Note that this is data from 2002. Steelworks also reprocess radioactive material and produce radioactive emissions.


Friday, 30 October 2009

Muck,Planning and Brass Neck

How to fly a pyrolysis incinerator under the planning radar……
And then let the aliens breed a new colony!

From Where there’s Muck there’s Brass……GLA Oct 2009

"whereas smaller sites can be located amongst housing or
industrial units and use the heat generated locally. EPI have sited their
pyrolysis plant in a current waste treatment area, which underpinned
their business model and helped during the planning process.

EPI has a series of small modular pyrolysis units up and running
outside London. The Committee visited a test site on an industrial
estate in Mitcham. It has a single processor unit, which can process
8,000 tonnes of waste a year. Up to four other units could be added
on to the site to process 40,000 tonnes per year which is the average
waste requirement for a borough.
This would produce enough
electricity to power an estimated 7,000-10,000 homes. This size of
plant would require around 3,000 sq ft of covered space and a smaller
version could be developed for use near to large buildings such as
sports centres and hospitals, which can use both the heat and power
produced. The long-term plan at Mitcham is to sell heat to other
units (such as a 24 hour bakery) on the estate.
The benefits of this process are that as the waste is not burnt, more
energy is captured than through the incineration process, there are no
harmful emissions, the process is odourless and virtually noiseless. In
addition, the size of the operation meant that recent planning
applications for 40,000 tonne plants had been approved in 12 weeks.
The plants are not subject to Environment Agency regulation as they
are considered low impact and therefore local authority environmental
health departments are responsible for granting the facilities a permit.

No Harmful Emissions!? That will be a first…I would definitely like to see the peer reviewed research on which such a statement is based.

The Residues?....pyrolysis (which is an unalterable chemical process,like gravity is for physics )produces some of the most carcinogenic residues known to man.

Sunday, 25 October 2009


Where did the Mushroom Clouds go?....What happened next?

The latest decision by government to allow low and very low level waste to go into landfill blows a chill wind over the whole incinerator issue.

There isn’t much (probably 50 yards) between that and burning the stuff. There are at least three London incinerators already licensed to do that, with appropriately high infant mortalities downwind…Beddington could join the club!

The microscope picture above (from Treatment and Conditioning of Radioactive Incinerator Ashes) shows how the radioactive metals go up the chimney and condense in the cold air outside. Because of the tonnages involved even filtering will fail to prevent significant amounts of radioactive metallic “snow”.

Although the American occupying authorities removed all the morbidity and mortality data for the five years after the bombs, and prevented Japanese research, the graph shows the catastrophic growth in cancers as a cause of mortality in subsequent years.

The cancer rate was 75/100,000 in 1947 and was 250 in 2004.

An onsite nuclear physicist said he thought that the refusal to count the immediate deaths from fall out dusts dramatically reduced the numbers, but hid the truth.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Download,print,scribble,connect....but enjoy would be too strong


"Much of it lands in West Africa. An investigation by the Mail on Sunday found computers which once belonged to the NHS being broken up and burnt by children on Ghanaian rubbish dumps. They were trying to extract copper and aluminium by burning off the plastics, with the result that they were inhaling lead, cadmium, dioxins, furans and brominated flame retardants. Tests in another of the world's great fly-tips, Guiyu in China, show that 80% of the children of that city have dangerous levels of lead in their blood."

From George Monbiot's article in the Guardian today.

So the EU's WEEE directive is working then!

Soon all these good things will be on our doorstep too,its only fair to share.

Sunday, 20 September 2009



Simon Burkitt and CCAL have forced the government to release the truth about their sums for deaths from air pollution in LONDON under FOI.It does not make for pretty reading:

*** Government releases previously unpublished spreadsheets for calculating premature deaths due to air pollution in London after formal information request from ‘Clean Air in London’ (CCAL) ***

*** Using government spreadsheets and its current risk figures indicates there were around 5,000 premature deaths in London in 2005 due to dangerous airborne particles (PM10) alone ***

*** CCAL urges Mayor Johnson to apply the Precautionary Principle when developing his Air Quality Strategy and accept government recommendations for sensitivity analyses which suggest there may have been some 6,300 to 7,900 premature deaths in London in 2005 due to PM10 alone ***

“Ministers tend to say:
air quality is good across 99% of the UK’s landmass;
has improved a lot since 1990;
that people lose on average a maximum of seven to eight months of their lives due to the problem;
and the alert bands show air pollution as being mostly ‘low’ or ‘moderate’.

The real picture is quite different.

1.No-one lives in our fields and mountains; they live alongside the 1,117 kilometres of roads in London (2,496 kilometres nationally) forecast by the government to breach legal standards for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in 2010.

2. Air quality has improved since 1990 but the level of dangerous airborne particles (PM10) in London has increased at a mean rate of around 0.4% per year since the late 1990’s despite public health laws requiring sharp reductions.

3. London has the highest annual mean concentrations of NO2 of any capital city in western (or eastern) Europe.

4. Rather than talk abstractly about an average reduction in life expectancy across 60,975,000 people, Ministers should warn people that the amount of time lost per statistical victim due to dangerous airborne particles may be 9.8 years.

5. Air quality can be in the 'low' band all year round but still breach European Union (EU) limit values.”

So,into this very real mess,the local councils intend to force through new sources of particulate pollution,from new waste streams.The continuing denial about how bad London's air is already,how many people its killing,how many childrens' lungs are being damaged and how many pregnancies ruined JUST WILL NOT DO!

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Young children's exposure to lead in the environment is harming their intellectual and emotional development, according to UK researchers.

The researchers say the toxic effects of lead on the central nervous system are obvious even below the current so-called safe level of lead in the blood.

They are recommending the threshold should be halved.

Lead has been removed from paint and petrol by law in the UK, but it is still widespread in the environment.

Sources of Lead:

Lead-based paint
Household dust
Lead water pipes
Soil around the home
Paint on children's toys
Children's bead necklaces
Christmas lights
Lead smelters/industries/incinerators

The Bristol researchers took blood samples from 582 children at the age of 30 months.

They found 27% of the children had lead levels above five microgrammes per decilitre.

They followed the children's progress at regular intervals and then assessed their academic performance and behavioural patterns when they were seven to eight years old.

After taking account of factors likely to influence the results, they found that blood lead levels at 30 months showed significant associations with educational achievement, antisocial behaviour and hyperactivity scores five years later.

1.With lead levels up to five microgrammes per decilitre, there was no obvious effect.

2.But lead levels between five and 10 microgrammes per decilitre were associated with significantly poorer scores for reading ( 49% lower) and writing (51% lower).

3.A doubling in lead blood levels to 10 microgrammes per decilitre was associated with a drop of a third of a grade in their Scholastic Assessment Tests (SATs).

4.And above 10 microgrammes per decilitre children were almost three times as likely to display antisocial behaviour patterns and be hyperactive than the children with the lower levels of lead in their blood.

You may remember the Avonmouth smelter post Bristol are sensitive to this area of contamination.You may also remember how blase the English authorities are about measuring heavy metals,and think the problem is over for London. The map above,from Hull,shows the widespread extent of potential plumes.

Well, this research proves its not over....and that all those other heavy metals,mercury in particular,will make it all very much worse.As usual,the children are most vulnerable.....the researchers are beginning to reccommend that paediatricians start taking blood level tests of Lead again, and all that "hidden" contaminated land is just as important as ever.

Monday, 14 September 2009


A coroner’s jury, last week, found that a soldier from IRAQ1 contracted cancer from depleted uranium in theatre. To do this they decided that the model of radiation damage proposed by the MOD was wrong, and that a model of internal radiation damage proposed by Professor Busby was to be preferred. Together with the Corby limb deformity decision of a month ago, the case adds to set a series of legal precedents about the effects of inhaling uranium, heavy metals and dioxins. This makes any refusal to measure heavy metals and dioxins near hazardous waste incinerators irresponsible and failing to set up public health monitoring around them grossly negligent. The HPA case for no research is now untenable, in my opinion. No doubt there will be appeals, but please bear in mind the opinions of the judge over Corby and a jury over cancer. It is not eccentric or foolish to believe that incinerators can be hazardous, either through their chimney emissions or their waste residues. The burden of proof and guarantee of safety now definitely resides with the commissioning council and the developer, and they can’t prove anything without measurement.

Friday, 11 September 2009




What do their flower filled booklets and clean presentations want to draw your eyes away from?

1.New, dangerous waste streams.

2.100,000+ tons of concentrated deadly residues a year when fully active.
3.Contaminated proposed sites with damaging development dusts.

4.Chimney emissions of nanoparticles:

a) Immediately,like vehicles, cause and worsen asthma in children and heart and lung problems in adults.

b) the heavy metals, dioxins and any radioactivity affect pregnancy outcomes.

c) Over the lifespan of the contracts many more serius diseases will occur.

What can you do about this? Join the Greens, FOE, Greenpeace, UKWIN….write to your MP….put it on your neighbourhood group agenda…write to the newspapers. New planning regulations have come in recently that mean your voice will count for very little, very soon. This totally fraudulent consultation process shows just how easy it is to park an incinerator on your doorstep…and say that that’s what you chose.

Monday, 24 August 2009

A Tragi-Comedy in Several Parts

Scaremongering A La Mode….or “plus ca change”……

Characters: the usual suspects, Production : Croydon Advertiser, Feb and March 1995 (Public kept in dark over contaminated gasworks…and Gasworks row flares up…), Values: plenty on resale

Enter stage left:

Foe Croydon (Paul de Zylva):
“There is a toxic legacy from the days of town gas production, with all sorts of chemicals seeping into the subsoil. British Gas has a huge public liability to clear its sites up." ( Independent consultants had identified arsenic, mercury, chromium, nickel and cadmium…but no mention was made of the complex hydrocarbons and dioxins guaranteed to be there as well).

British Gas:
“We have nothing to hide over work on sites which might be contaminated. We only sell them to reputable buyers. The reason why detailed studies of pollution are not made available for public inspection is because soil analysis procedures are extremely complex for the non-specialist. General publication can lead to a misleading perception of the actual risk, and result in pressure to carry out remedial works which may not resolve the real problem." (!)

Foe Tandridge (Barbara Child):
"Local residents have a right to be kept informed of any potential contamination in their area, and should not be kept in the dark on a need to know basis." ( Godstone Road, Whyteleaf)

Sir Paul Beresford ( Central Croydon MP and junior environment minister):
“The friends of the earth campaign has been alarmist and irresponsible. It’s not fair on people living nearby and makes me really cross. Perhaps they are having a go at me because I am an environment minister. I insist that there are adequate safeguards to make sure that once-polluted sites pose no danger. The information is complex. If you go to a doctor he might give you a prescription, but he doesn’t explain the complicated details of the drug." (really? some doctor!)

The curtain falls...

Some years later…..time having passed by…..the greater understanding of particulates.....dioxins..... The Corby Judgement…..the 2007 graph of early neonatal deaths is published by Croydon PCT (see below)… developments around Factory Lane…new residues from new incinerators to deal with.

Part the Second:

“Parallel Processes”
….procurement and public consultation (they never meet)

the audience feels its going backwards to the future !?

Wednesday, 5 August 2009



There is no doubt that air pollution from cars and lorries contributes to the causes of birth defects and low birth weight, in a general way. Last week the Corby judgement proved that special lorries carrying special cargo did the same, in a very spectacular way.

Birth defect, low birth weight and infant mortality increases around incinerators have almost always been attributed to the chimney emissions, and only one study looked at vehicular traffic and incinerator emissions together. It found that as road traffic increased, so did birth defect rates, in proportion. Birth defects near those incinerators were also raised,the nearer the more.

Croydon’s own figures on congenital malformations are ( for whatever reason) not being made publicly available, though they are collected and sent to the Office of National Statistics. A graph of early neonatal mortality (within 7 days of birth) is the nearest we can get to this important area.
As you can see above, Croydons own impressive improvement is suddenly halted by a peak in the early eighties,and a number of other peaks follow.The 1994-2002 looks very serious, and is almost coterminous with the period that Croydon often featured at the top of Londons PCT figures for birth defects, shown in Dr Ryans research .This is not commented on or explained in the document (Croydon Child Health 2007).

As Croydon Council seeks to embark on commissioning a variety of incinerators don’t you think that a special study of Croydons traffic pollution (particulates especially),the power station emissions, the Factory Lane dusts,Beddington lane dusts, land reclamation dusts and incinerator dusts is absolutely essential.One senior Italian researcher expressed the opinion that he thought it totally irresponsible to commission new waste facilities without including public health monitoring as mandatory.You will look in vain for this in the first and second SLWP consultation documents.

In view of the serious expense of litigation, isn`t it imperative that Croydon Council does not lay itself open to accusations of gross negligence, as did Corby,whatever the SLWP decides?The population of Corby is about 53,000….the area affected by the incinerator plumes and road movements could contain nearer 500,000.
In this split between each of the four boroughs,the SLWP and the final contractors,where will the legal and financial responsibility for compenstaion rest?

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

CORBY:Council and Health Authority Denials


Despite the very well known dangers of heavy metals and dioxin dusts Corby Council has spent millions of council-tax payers money on defending the indefensible.It would not surprise me if other groups started actions,in other parts of the country,and on many other health issues.
Now, the Health Protection Agency is insisting to local authorities that incinerators are safe, having done no research on birth defects and infant mortality around London’s incinerators, and refusing to publish the figures it has, until forced to do so under FOI. This is despite a growing body of international evidence that even traffic derived pollution has profound effects on pregnancy development and outcomes. Dr. Michael Ryan’s work on this topic shows very serious effects.
The neighbouring borough of Bexley funded an investigation of the dust around its Manor Road waste site, with disturbing findings. The monitoring of the current position around the hazardous waste transfer station in Factory Lane, Croydon, needs clarifying and future lorry movements related to the SLWP need to be examined very carefully. People need to realise that every 100,000 tons of burnt /pyrolysed waste produces 30-40,000 tons of very hazardous dioxin and heavy metal filled ash/char. The same cargo as went through Corby. Arguing about chimney emissions is one thing, ignoring the VERY SERIOUS RESIDUE issues is another.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Radioactive Waste Incineration

The problem is that radiation risk science is in a class of its own because the nuclear industry is fundamentally a state enterprise. It's been partly privatised but the world powers made it inalienably a matter of national policy from 1942 onwards. Just think of the asbestos analogy. If firms were putting asbestos-contaminated material into incinerators on the reasoning that dilution and dispersion were acceptable risk reduction techniques they'd be shut down immediately. But asbestos never, in anyone's mind, stood between the west and the red menace. The radiation risk model chosen by the government deliberately avoids a real study of the effects of any internal radioactive dose, particularly from the family of alpha-particle emitters (remember the Russian journalist).There is a pretence that the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only affected by the Gamma radiation of the explosion(the Saharan sun) and not by eating ,drinking and breathing in the radioactive dusts (the Saharan sand).To help matters along the relevant data for the first 5 years (1945-1950) were removed and Japanese research halted. Japan was, after all, under American military occupation. Many scientists lost their careers in the arguments over these issues, and Professor Rotblatt, a member of the Manhattan project, who won a Nobel peace prize for his work to stop atmospheric testing, saw the two issues of data withholding and alpha emitter exclusion as fatal flaws in our current safety standards.
So the present and future of emissions policy is inextricably bound up with governments' avoidance of liability for past errors and they'll continue with their denials until they are put into court, the science tested in a forum which absolutely requires balance, and the decision won.
Such a tactic would involve a legal challenge to the authorization of a particular incinerator to burn radioactively contaminated material, a crucial consideration would be that the incineration involved elements of high atomic number.
These issues may appear irrelevant to people not into what the government loves to call “low-level radioactivity”. Interested readers should log into the LLRC website and follow their noses… inventor of the atom bomb, inspector of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, witness to the Pacific UK, Australian ,NZ and USA servicemen’s exposures and active teacher and campaigner was there before them, but only the very restricted audience at London hospitals were privileged to hear.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


In the biggest shake-up of the planning system for more than 60 years, energy companies and developers are fine-tuning proposals that will test the government's resolve to fast-track schemes considered vital for the national interest.
This week, Gordon Brown maintained that the new regime would "speed up decisions ... for the national infrastructure" in advance of a statement today from energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband, pushing the case for more wind farms.
While much of the present planning system will remain in place, the new regime will remove decisions on big, strategic infrastructure projects - airport runways, major road schemes and new rail lines, as well as power stations, wind farms, waste disposal schemes and new water projects

Decisions will be taken from local councils and handed to the non-elected IPC.Its head, (ex-chief exec Kent County Council) Pitt replies: "My best estimate is that we will be dealing with a significant number of applications by late spring [2010], and that a substantial amount of groundwork will have been done by both the applicants and other organisations."

See John Vidal's article in the Guardian,WED 15th JULY

Thursday, 9 July 2009


BIOCHAR pyrolysate, new gold?..........or same old, same old….

I went to the LAEC energy from waste committee today, where there was a real buzz in the air, and a hard sell for a new unheard of waste treatment method that had even been cleared by Ireland for dealing with BSE cattle!...errrrr?

Some members of the committee even thought it would be better than the old coal via coke to gas system (the “old” pyrolysis) because it was “ new technology”. So where had all the heavy metals in the sewage disappeared to I asked myself….it seemed too much of a free lunch to me…so I asked around.

“If you were pyrolysing waste materials, then I think you are right in assuming you will get a waste product at the end of the process. This could be contaminated with dioxins, PCBS, PAHs, etc. The Env. Agency would regulate as a waste, so you would need to demonstrate safety before you could apply to agricultural soils (or elsewhere I guess).”

From a leading expert in Biochar research

“4) What other impacts need to be considered?Pyrolysis can result in air pollution and particulate emissions known to have serious impacts on human health. As with conventional incineration, toxins contained within feedstocks are emitted into the air or retained in ash or and charcoal Some biochar companies are already using a wide variety of “wastes” which can include treated wood, crop residues that have been sprayed with agrichemicals, plastics, used tyres or coal mixed with other biomass. The impact of adding large quantities of potentially toxin-laden charcoal into soils must be assessed, along with air emissions from pyrolysis.”


So if some bright spark suggests a new miracle cure for dried sewage sludge, or rubber tyres, I’d take it with a pinch of salt, if I were you.


RADIOACTIVITY AND HAZARDOUS WASTE….. “ paint-pots and plutonium rods”… it ain’t.

The new economics of landfill tax for commercial and industrial waste, twice the volume of municipal, mean its too expensive to go to landfill,and so its coming to an incinerator near you.Now local areas will deal with local waste streams,whatever they are (central government presumption).

Rubber tyres, tarmac, contaminated earth from Victorian sites, asbestos demolition waste, car oils, industrial lubricants, waste, such as contaminated wood, glass and plastic . Electronic waste, such as fluorescent tubes, computer monitors and televisions, batteries (full of toxic heavy metals).Industrial waste, such as solvent, paint, varnish, oils, cleaning cloths, filters and soiled protective clothing .Residue from other waste treatments, such as ash from incinerators.
Agricultural pesticides and BSE contaminated cattle
In the UK, almost all radioactive waste comes from the nuclear power industry.
2% comes from defence uses (nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered submarines).
1% comes from medical and industrial uses of radioactive substances.

This is an example of the regulation

Special Form Certificate

Special form material means either:

- An indispersible solid radioactive material;
- A sealed capsule containing radioactive material that shall be so manufactured that it can be opened only by
destroying the capsule.

This means that if you have radioactive material which has a current Special Form certificate the packaging requirements
for transport are less onerous, often enabling a less expensive and more readily available transport package to be used.

If the material is no longer Special Form it may mean that “Type B” container is required which can in turn lead to a more complicated operation.

What is Best Practicable Means?

The Environment Agency requires users
of radioactive materials to demonstrate pro-actively that they are using the
Best Practicable Means to minimise the accumulation of radioactive waste and
to minimise the discharge of that waste to the environment, before users are
granted authorisations to accumulate and dispose of radioactive waste. There
is no definitive definition of BPM as each user's situation will be different.

What do we mean by 'Waste'?

Radioactive material has a wide range of
applications such as in Medicine to diagnose and treat patients, in Universities
and Research Companies for research and in Industry for supporting operational
Where waste radioactive material is secured within robust physical
containment, it's classed as a 'waste closed source'; if not, it is more generally
called 'radioactive waste'. The regulations governing the disposal of these
broad classes of material are different.

What do we mean by 'Closed Sources'?

Radioactive closed sources have
a wide range of applications such as in Medicine to diagnose and treat patients
and in Industry where they are found in instruments and gauges that determine
levels, volumes and thickness.
Where waste radioactive material is secured within
robust physical containment, it's classed as a 'waste closed source'; if not,
it is more generally called 'radioactive waste'. The regulations governing
the disposal of these broad classes of material are different.


There is a real issue about “lost” closed sources, enough to give rise to European concern and regulation! Which is a comfort.

Friday, 3 July 2009


THE COMMON PROCUREMENT VOCABULARY……otherwise a series of nearly impenetrable codes for helping trans-european bidding:or sweeping the dust under the carpet!

Not just any incinerator,but a hazardous waste incinerator!

This is what Croydon is asking bids for:

1.9051330= Incineration
2.9051390=Sludge disposal
3.90520000=Radioactive, toxic, medical and hazardous waste services ( you can guess why they wanted that in code)
4.90524200=Clinical waste disposal
5.45252300=Refuse incinerator construction

I am not going on as that will do, don’t you think? We happy band under the plumes…..or are they going to compost the radioactive waste then? Democracy, this is not (when were your opinions asked on this), Communication, this is not. A cowardly skulking behind administrative iron curtains, a refusal to open a public debate and a Stalinist coup of the waste-mongers it is. Will the people of Sutton and Croydon stand for this? By an unusual coincidence the inhabitants of Kingston will be very far away, so won’t care.


£919,000, off the press...Croydon lead procurer for SLWP contract.....more later!

Thursday, 2 July 2009


Victorian Values, urbanisation and the state we’re in now…. Why DEFRA’S “no conclusive evidence” is a fraud.

Our great-great grandfathers were poisoned by their work with coal and metals and chemistry, but the poison also soaked into the land. Like radioactivity the biological life of the poisons is many, many generations long. The industrial plants have, sooner or later, been demolished and the houses near them first housed the workers, then, very often the poorest in the community. The vacant plots were cheap and councils built their housing on them. As densification became more important even the most toxic sites began to be used after “remediation”, never mind the dusts raised by that, or the builders that followed, to dig deep foundations.

Incinerators have also been built in these areas, and scientific studies (notably that of Paul Elliott on cancers near incinerators, 1996) show lots of extra ill-health, from the rare liver cancers and sarcomas associated with dioxins, to leukaemias and congenital malformations and infant deaths. The standard comment is that these findings cannot be ascribed to whatever industrial activity is being investigated because of “confounding factors”…..i.e. the extra ill-health caused by being deprived, having a poor diet, being working-class, smoking, drinking, getting poor antenatal care etc.,etc. That’s why there is “no conclusive evidence”. Its not that there aren’t tons of illnesses.

There is this built-in 20th century factor which the Seveso explosion and following cancer studies show:

The first study was done on the years 1976-1986 (actually 10 years too early, as in the Elliott study), and found that the incidence of all cancers was the same for the exposed population as for the unexposed. This is despite extensive proof that dioxins cause cancer in laboratory animals. It was subsequently revealed that other dioxins were discovered in the contaminated soil that had come from another, unidentified, source. Thus background levels of pollution were already high enough to cause illness.

This is one of the problems facing epidemiologists, that it is virtually impossible to find a control group that has not been exposed to environmental pollutants. This technical scientific difficulty is being exploited and abused to give false reassurances. Our children will pay for this first, and then we ourselves will.

The potential Beddington incinerator will stand next door to the sites of 2 Victorian Gasworks (1826 onwards), Croydon power stations "A" and "B" and two metal foundries.Local historians will know,unlike me,their size,history and precise siting.Croydon already has peaks of early neonatal deaths.

As our Victorian legacy gets exhumed, and the effects of old and new incinerators are examined,bear in mind that the embryo and infant are the most "sensitive receptors".The statistics they provide will be the earliest and most important indicators that something is wrong.Will your local authority and the state show and share,or hide? Will Imperial College and SAHSU dare to research or not? Don't hold your breath!

An extraordinary example of planners "forgetting" contamination is at the Olympics site: 1 experimental nuclear reactor and its waste + 2 Thorium factories + 3 unregulated waste tip = 7,300 tons of radioactive waste now in a "safe" bunker on site...who's going to live there then?

Monday, 29 June 2009


Croydon at top of borough birth defect rates with Bexley……according to expert Michael Ryan……

Birth defect rates in Greater London 1995-2002
by Michael Ryan BSc, C Eng, MICE

the only London Borough with an incinerator authorised to burn radioactive waste [White Rose, Sidcup], and which is also subject to industrial PM2.5 emissions from three other sources, has had the highest rate of babies born with defects out of the 31 Greater London Primary Care Trusts[PCTs], for each of the five years 1998-2002.
The rates of babies recorded as born with defects in Bexley during 2002 was between 15 and 59
times greater than in Islington.

Grundon’s incinerator at Colnbrook is authorised to burn radioactive waste, hence there are elevated rates of babies born with birth defects in PCTs downwind. [ Slough, Hillingdon]

Birth defects are known to be caused by radioactivity, organophosphate herbicide/pesticides, and industrial PM2.5 emissions of dioxins, some heavy metals, and PAHs. Incinerator emissions can contain all these, hence the higher birth defect rates associated with radioactive waste-burning.

Work on the Millennium Dome site - clearing the polluted earth -gave rise to a massive increase in school asthma rates in Greenwich [from
11.9% in 1996 to 50% after works started] .There was a parallel rise in birth defects in the area in the 2years that followed.

Has anyone suggested that Croydon’s high rate of birth defects should be investigated. If it is already high, could that be due to the Beddington site dusts, even before an incinerator?or Croydon’s own Victorian legacy? Perhaps we should ask Michael Ryan? Have the factory fires at 20th Century,later Centronics (industrial holders of radioactive materials) affected New Addington's infant mortality? I just think we need some research that is public.


and the
MRC-HPA centre for environment and health.

Though these men are not in the public eye,they should be,for on their shoulders rests a heavy responsibility.They control the choice of projects researched, the vital postcode/illness databases (SAHSU) and the extent of freedom from government interference.Professor Elliott’s work stands at a crossroads of incinerator safety and air pollution effects and Professor Kelly’s ERG air quality research will monitor the complex mix of air pollutants over London.I doubt that they see their role as answering questions from the public,though they are publicly funded.Perhaps that may change?

Professor Paul Elliott from Imperial College London, the Director of the new MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, said: "Your body has to deal with hundreds of different pollutants every day, the vast majority of which are probably harmless. However, we know that some pollutants can cause health problems – for example, some of the minute particles found in diesel fumes can make people’s asthma symptoms worse. " "It's quite difficult to work out whether certain pollutants are affecting our health because we are exposed to so many, over such long periods of time. Our new Centre is developing methods to look at the exposure of many thousands of people. Through this research we will investigate the extent, for example, a particular chemical is contributing to a particular health problem."

Professor Frank Kelly from King's College London, the Deputy Director of the new Centre, said "We are very much looking forward to working with colleagues at Imperial College to address a range of challenging environmental issues which contribute to the chronic disease burden in the 21st century".

Sunday, 28 June 2009


Bio-mass Boris, the Joker in the pack…

Boris intends to build 98 waste plants and 577 combined heat and power plants as part of London’s low carbon economy (Ernst &Young prospectus, 2009) over the coming years. He has already taken many steps to wreck progress in air quality in London, the most important being the suspension of LEZ 3.

Last week the Institute of Environmental Health in London held an event:
“ A major expansion in biomass heat is underway to help the UK meet its CO2 reduction targets. The air quality impacts are, however, potentially a stumbling block, the successful management of these is key to a sustainable rollout of biomass heat. This event explores how the air quality impacts of biomass can be successfully managed, cover biomass technologies and their emission performance, before examining the regulatory framework and techniques for air quality assessment. Emerging renewable heat and air quality policy will be covered, and the issue of embedding air quality management in the planning process for biomass deployment Topics include: • Policy update (DECC) • Regulation of biomass plant (Environment Agency) • Developing sustainable wood fuel supply chains (Forestry Commission)”

The combination of traffic growth, waste management and combined heat and power are likely to have very detrimental further effects on London’s already poor air. There seems to be no integrated assessment of these changes, but rather a denial of their significance in marketing the capital to the world as a whole, let alone the health of the population.
As population growth is achieved by both densification and a move to the east...not only do current potential energy from waste developments give rise to issues about contaminated land...but also the Victorian "forgotten" industrial legacy gets to be "remembered",often as a surprise!

Monday, 22 June 2009


How London's Politicians aren't interested in Your Health.....despite rolling out incinerators (extract from strategy report)

Dioxins and furans

6.23 There are currently no standards or guidelines for dioxins or furans, and monitoring is
carried out at a single London site. These pollutants are however of significant public
6.24 Given the extremely high costs of monitoring for dioxins and furans it is not
recommended that further measurement sites be established. Whilst reporting of
concentrations on a more widespread basis could be undertaken, the manner in which
this is done needs to be given careful consideration, in the absence of standards for

Lead and heavy metals

6.21 There is currently only limited monitoring for lead and heavy metals being undertaken
in London. However, existing national policies are expected to deliver the air quality
objectives for lead at practically all locations in the UK, with the exception of sites in
close proximity to major industrial emitters of lead. At a strategic level, there is no
requirement for monitoring of lead concentrations in London.
6.22 The current position with other heavy metals is less clear. There are currently no
standards or objectives for other metals, and whilst these are being considered for
cadmium, arsenic, nickel and mercury within the EU Fourth Daughter Directive,
current understanding is that it is unlikely that Limit Values will be set. At this stage,
it is recommended that monitoring of heavy metals is kept under review pending the
outcome of the Directive.

All the London roadside heavy metal measuring sites,Brent,Cromwell Road and Horseferry Road are a long way west of the incinerator plumes of Edmonton,Belvedere,Lewisham and potential Beddington, which cover the whole of East London,both sides of the river.I assume they were designed to measure car derived Lead pollution mostly.They are of no use at all in measuring London's incinerators' heavy metals emissions.Invisible..."simples".

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


HEAVY METALS AND INCINERATORS........Early renal damage in a population environmentally
exposed to cadmium – The Avonmouth Study

1 Britannia Zinc Smelter in Avonmouth was the largest source of atmospheric cadmium emissions in the UK.
2 Closed in 2003 after over 70 years of operation
3 Large amounts of cadmium along with various other metals (inc. lead, arsenic, mercury) were emitted to air.
4 Cadmium is a nephrotoxin; the initial sign of cadmium induced renal damage is tubular proteinuria.
5 Increasing evidence that tubular damage may occur at low levels of environmental cadmium exposure.
6 Exposure may occur directly through inhalation of contaminated air and /or indirectly through ingestion of home-grown vegetables and house dust.
7 Soil sampling has shown a significant build-up of metal contamination in the soil up to 15 km from the smelter .

This is taken directly from the Imperial College SAHSU research poster.

Well,all sorts of rubbish goes into an incinerator,especially if we have to cope with electricals and hazardous waste streams locally.Mercury and cadmium are two of the commonest and most dangerous metals here.This tells you how you and your children will get them,how far they go(way outside the purple particle dispersion marker of the petition) and how small the damaging doses are.Unfortunately for Bristol,it wouldn't have been only cadmium and other heavy metals but also dioxins going up in smoke.There will be cancer clusters and other dioxin markers for sure...if not why not? Litigation and compensation avoidance.Is it the same reason that the Suffolk nuclear power station leaks were kept secret?To avoid scuppering another government programme.As usual we will never know.

Monday, 15 June 2009


BEDDINGTON LANE DUST….NOT JUST ANY DUST!.....Inflammation, Oxidative stress and Allergy (this is a bit long)

1.All waste transfer stations have a problem with dust…it was thought, until recently, that this was just “clean dirt” churned up by the lorries. Unfortunately research presented at the Cranfield University annual meeting in 2008
showed that this dust was much more highly reactive because of what was on it and would cause oxidative stress in the lungs when inhaled..... “ Thus, PM10 generated by the waste transfer facility at BX4 should be considered a potential health risk to
the neighbouring residential community.”

It criticised the assumptions of our very own SLWP plan:

ERM (2006) Sustainability Appraisal Report for the Surrey Waste Plan. Environmental Resource Management

Who said it was just ordinary dust!

2.Beddington monitoring station PM10 air went over its annual mean WHO safety limits (20) on 288 days of last year (2008)…..yes….288 ! Its annual mean PM10’s were 35…that is 15 over the WHO limit, leading to an excess respiratory mortality rate of either 9% or 32% (depending on who you want to believe).It is about 3,000 feet from the sewage farm entrance, so it is likely that the readings there will be higher, but to be fair, Beddington village itself is about as far the other way. I have no idea about the respective weight of traffic coming down, or going up Beddinton Lane, but it is certain to go up significantly were any incinerator to be built.
3.“The Sensitive Receptor and the Incinerator” new particulates could add to this already woeful story, and they have all sorts of extra stuff stuck to them. As, in the old legislation, the sensitive receptor was (still is?) classed as the 6 year old girl, surely it would make more sense to place a monitoring station nearer the school playgrounds. In fact it seems daft not to be monitoring the health of our school children a lot better as so many playgrounds are near ever busier roads.
4.Inflammation: think about a cut, or a burn, or a nettle sting, or a bee or a horse-fly sting. There’s pain (or itching), reddening, swelling and extra warmth to the touch. All of that is called the inflammatory response. Blood vessels expand, and blood flows faster, lots of little white cells squeeze between the walls of the capillaries and are ready to attack or eat up the enemy, before trying to heal things. You wouldn’t believe how many links in the chain there are and how everything “talks” to everything else. You can’t see into the tiny lung tubes and air sacs , nor is pain registered, just cough or wheeze, so skin will have to do. You can see that this is not over quickly, the lungs hold a “history” of what has happened to them. Just like you would yelp if hurt near the original wound. “Mad scientists” have gassed volunteers with Volvo engines in the basements of King’s College, and shown not only the inflammatory response, by sucking some of these cells up, but also the increased sensitivity to further insult persisting for some hours. The shoppers who had wheezing in the Oxford Street experiment showed altered lung sensitivity for up to 7 hours after. So,oxidative stress is expressed as inflammation, which can lead to scarring, which can lead to restricted lung growth.The morning rush hour Nox and Particulate peaks (which can be as high as 114 [PM10 norm 20!]) soften up the lung for the summer afternoon Ozone hit,on top of 24/7 Incinerator Effects.You couldn't make it up!
5.Allergy: some of us get hay fever a bit, or a little wheeze others get mild asthma, still other get serious asthma. American scientists believe that air pollution causes asthma as a condition, that it makes attacks happen once you have got it and that it is what lies behind the huge increase in children with it. In Britain, I don’t believe this is quite agreed.

Friday, 12 June 2009


Toxic Burn, The Dioxin War and Smogtown….......

"catchy titles and a fun read"? ( all available from Amazon)

They are a depressing trinity, because the illnesses described make you feel quite sick, and the deliberately protracted legal cases, enquiries and government agency buckpassing take a real effort to follow. There is a common thread to them all, whether the East Liverpool WTI incinerator, The Agent Orange Vietnam veterans or the air pollution of Los Angeles.

It is one of collusion between powerful industries with their falsified science, government departments and agencies and so called independent inquiries. These are not some red-top, sensationalist or politicised rants , but carefully researched histories of often small peoples’ determined fight for environmental justice. The stories are really shocking because they expose how completely expendable we and our children all are to the globalised economic barons that rule our governments and the EU.
Have you ever heard of the Coalite Bolsover plant explosion? No ?I didn’t think so, it was our own version of Seveso, the Italian plant explosion that happened some 8 years later and brought our own accident to light. Did you know Al Gore broke his promises to Ohio to stop the building of the largest hazardous waste incinerator in the world? Did you know that Los Angeles had an air pollution problem since 1945 and the motor car was not identified as the cause for 30 years!?
You can pick your poison and have a good is now all firm American will never be the same again,I promise.

Well, when the plans and reassurances eventually come over the hill from the SLWP, DEFRA, The London Waste Board and the WasteMongers for the Not-Incinerator, remember the Greenwich Peninsula, Byker, Bolsover and Corby.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Particles yet more damaging ……Hillary Benn at sea!

Tower Hamlets research shows that children’s lungs are more damaged than ever by London air.
5% below national average in size,
Nearly one on 10 reduced to a level internationally regarded as hazardous.

Lancaster Professor Maher said: "We're surrounded by this invisible mist of these millions of toxic particles - you can't see them but we know, we've measured them, they're here.
"When we do our leaf magnetic measurements, our research shows that down at small child height the concentrations - the number - of these very fine particles is sometimes twice the current EU regulation standard."
One set of measurements, outside the Cathedral School in Lancaster, revealed particulate levels that were above the EU standard.
The school's head, Anne Goddard, said the findings were "quite worrying".
"It's the only playground we have at the school and it's right next to the road. The levels are high so obviously the effect on the children, especially those with asthma, is a concern."

Lung damage is not the same as asthma…it is a permanent constriction and scarring that reduces a person’ resilience to illness in later life to a serious extent.

The idiotic comments of Hilary Benn,the minister responsible, should worry us all even more,

“ most of the landmass of Britain does meet the requirements.”,he said,

Pity 99% of the population don’t live in the 99% of the landmass that is particle free.Dooh!

What is this doing on an incinerator blog?Well the lungs don't care very much whether the tiny particles are coming from a car,lorry,nanotechnology or a chimney.What's stuck to the particles poisons you in different ways,sure,but its the total count of what's out there that matters.London's going for growth and the children will pay in the long run.

Sunday, 7 June 2009



The science journalist,Simon Singh, is campaigning to change English libel laws that are “Draconian and Expensive”.A damages judgement for a few thousand,will rack up lawyers’ fees of £500,000.You are guilty (of causing harm) and must prove your innocence(that the organisation has not been harmed!), a total reversal of what people believe to be their position before the law.Articles get withdrawn,or just not written and perhaps thoughts stop being thought. The problems in England are so serious (x 100 European expenses) that American states are beginning to pass laws the exempt US citizens from English libel laws in this area.A Californian journalist may write a critique of an English incinerator operator,say,and,if his article is read on the internet here he can be hauled up in, or threatended with court over here.People from the president of the Royal Society to Stephen Fry and Harry Hill are lobbying a current parliamentary inquiry…shouldn’t we be too?

Saturday, 6 June 2009


From Kracow to Kualar-Lumpur waste scientists are studying how to deal with a new wave of sludge produced by urbanisaton and population growth.Historically it was sent out to sea or put into landfill,and more recently onto fields.Then they realised that fertilistaion was contamination,as heavy metal soil residues became ever more apparent and legislated against. So what to do?
Mix it with some carbon source (rubber tyres or tarmac will do just fine),as raw liquid sewage doesn’t heat very well,then cook it at low-for-incineration temperatures,take off the gas and bio-fuel and then……put the rest into landfill or tarpits.Sound familiar?Its Greenwich all over again,with the concentrated Xtra-Toxic goo and char to store and deal with.Just grate!

Thursday, 4 June 2009



In the guise of cutting red tape and curbing administrative costs the Environment Committee of the EU Parliament has just last month passed amendments to European Directive [COM(2007) 843 final]that seriously affect our ability to monitor and inspect

Chimney emissions
Groundwater pollution
Soil pollution
Heavy metal emissions

The industry lobby wants to limit access to the legal complaint procedure by non governmental organisations promoting environmental protection, leaving an individual to face them alone!
The industry has gained permission for inspections every two years instead of every year.
Industry wanted derogations from limit has got them!
Soil monitoring every 10 years, groundwater, every 5….!Heavy metals once a year
You won’t be informed until four months after a breach has occurred etc.etc.

When the SLWP come to say that incinerators are safe..who can argue with them….the operators will own all the numbers…..It is really time that we all had access to independent sources of monitoring,both particulates in general and heavy metals in particular.Perhaps it should be made a condition of the contract that we get heavy metal readings every week!

Isn't it truly amazing that in all this regulation there is no provision whatsoever for monitoring the health of the "local" population.That is absolutely disgraceful and negligent.Come on you Green MEP's!

Sunday, 31 May 2009


Risky Business.....issue 2
“Little local difficulties” in the industry

A UK waste incinerator has operated under a management regime that falsified emissions monitoring data in breach of its environmental permit, a former employee at a site has alleged recently (see UKWIN link,news,Manchester). The operator rejects the claims but the Environment Agency has pledged to investigate.
One of his most serious allegations is that the plant’s continuous emissions monitoring system was regularly turned off during start-up and shutdown [a time in the in all incinerator cycles notorious for high dioxin emissions], and when the plant was operating abnormally. This means no accurate record of emissions would be made at these times and the flue gas treatment system was also not in use. The consequences of this would be that emissions of acid gases and organic pollutants such as dioxins would not be effectively abated - a breach of the site’s environmental permit.
When a French company bought an Italian incinerator recently it certainly didn’t get a bargain. It found that emissions data had been extensively and deliberately falsified, the police were involved and hard discs were seized.

Saturday, 30 May 2009


Nanoparticles…….New Incinerators, New waste streams, New Problems. The changing face of waste, more metals, more electricals and more plastics.

When you put metals into a furnace they are usually lumps, large or small and relatively safe, you can’t breathe a lump of lead in, for example. After you have heated them up, and made them go through chimney reactions they become very tiny particles and become very much more dangerous, mercury and cadmium being particularly serious examples. You will be surprised to hear that there are no laws regulating heavy metal discharge levels in air, apart from lead, so that councils can get away with not monitoring them. The levels of metals emitted by incinerators is very high, and much higher than found in emissions from cars. You may well hear of PM 10’s or even PM2.5’s….these particles are PM0.18’s! Filters designed for bigger particles won’t be able to cope…..even now cyclists masks do not protect them from traffic particulates. There is evidence from Mexico city that these can pass directly into the brain, via the nose, as well as being small enough to get into the blood via the lungs.

Another very real problem is the plastic packaging that everybody has got used to, as well as the plastics in bottles etc. PVC doors and windows are more than 90% organic chlorine, and will become more of the waste stream in future. The chlorine atoms in plastic are related to the formation of dioxins, directly. The more plastic in the burn the more dioxins are produced, to enter the merry-go-round of afterburning, flue gas washing and filter capture (or not!).

Many electrical goods contain PBDEs, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and are finding their way into incinerator waste streams. They are also the flame retardants in furniture, now a legal requirement.

The face of incineration has changed in more ways than one. There are no easy reassurances, and no easy way to check what was on that lorry that just went in the depot. You can guess the number of wrongly declared lorry loads in the world history of incineration, but, by the time they got discovered, it was all too late.

Friday, 29 May 2009


What's in a scale? That which we call a map, by any other scale would illustrate as clearly.....

A little food for thought on how easily DEFRA's air pollution report could be used to obfuscate rather than inform....
Once there were lies, damned lies and statistics. Now we live in the age of the image, in more senses than one, it could be updated to lies, damned lies and cleverly chosen images...Photoshopped images...

Thursday, 28 May 2009


RISKY BUSINESS…the corrupted links between science, political economics, councils and big business… issue 1

Risk assessment has been turned into a sort of “abstract art” of cost benefit analysis and prediction of health and mortality. At its heart is an immoral equation : if you don’t know the names and addresses of the 4,400 people that died in London last year from air pollution, you aren’t guilty of anything. Epidemiology as an excuse for gross negligence. Profit before people.

The air pollution world is in a bit of a fix, at the moment, because the UK is going to be prosecuted for VERY BAD AIR INDEED…..London’s first and foremost. Pretty soon it will be possible for a private citizen to start a prosecution, all by themselves.

Here are some examples of how government has used science to muddy the waters:

Mortality is an important part of working out cost-benefits. In England this is done by COMEAP…it says that a 10 point rise causes a 6% increase in deaths.
That’s a bit odd, because the Americans, using the same figures say it could be as high as 17%.Other, modern, international figures come up with 19% or 20% increase. 6% or 20%....that makes a big difference to the cost benefit sums.
Pollution modelling a lot of it is done by computer now, not from real monitors in the street. DEFRA have chosen a programme (CMAQ, with the made-sorgam particle model) which European research has shown undercounts severe pollution by 50%.So you can pretend you have reduced pollution at a stroke.
Hiding the problem:In its recent guidance on air pollution to councils DEFRA has produced a document ,on page A3-27 of which, is advice on how to hide chimney emissions on computer models.. Grids of 50 metres square show dense concentrations of pollutants in certain areas. 200 metre grids make these disappear. Hide or show?...what do you think they will do?
The big LAEI…..these days the government doesn’t want to measure pollution in the real world…but in its fairyland world of computerised emission inventories, where the numbers are falling. It’s all a bit embarrassing really, because they haven’t shut the real world down yet. King’s college scientists show there has not been any fall in emissions for the last 10 years, what’s more, there may well have been a rise. Heatwave years are very bad, just like we are about to have.

The trouble is the government have a whip hand on the grants that keep scientists in work. Industry often decides what work it will fund or not. The Incinerator Industry has no intention of funding any real research, because it knows what will be found….just the same as in the rest of the world. The government want things covered up…it wants to talk about work done by ”independent “ scientists…when that is an opinion on original work done long ago, not an original piece of new work. There will be new incinerators, new waste streams and new problems.

Croydon Advertiser publicises the issue.

Link to story online

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Environmental Justice has a price..and the other side will use financial thuggery to bully you to silence:

The timing of protest is important in a financial context. Protest hardest and most often ,early,when it is still “free”.If you leave it till the formal planning stages it may already be too late,as it will be “expensive”.If you put an incinerator into a dense population, one of the reasons it is silly is that a large public opinion can be grown to come on your opposition side.Beware industry tactics that encourage late attention…well into the legal process.Here’s why:

From the Guardian 27/05/09

“In a recent campaign against the London borough of Hillingdon for failing to stop pollution from a coffee factory, locals were threatened with costs of £28,000 for simply applying to the court for permission to make a challenge.
"Whilst it is unlikely that our client would have been ordered to pay all, it did have a chilling effect and added to fund-raising pressures, which led them to withdraw," Gita Parihar, the solicitor at FoE who helped them with their legal aid application, says.
Paul Stookes, a lawyer who represents the Peacehaven residents, cites the recent case of Frank Morgan and Cathy Baker, neighbours who live close to a compost site in Publow, near Bristol. They complain of smells emanating from the site which are so bad Morgan claims to be stuck in his home "like a prisoner". They are also concerned about the dangers of bio-aerosols being released into the air.
Morgan and Baker were landed with a £25,000 legal bill after being granted an injunction to stop the site, which was later overturned. They were not backed by legal aid, but the claim was funded thorough legal expenses insurance contained in a household insurance policy.
The high court judge Mr Justice Sullivan highlighted the case in a report last year, Ensuring access to environmental justice in England and Wales, which found that only the "very rich or very poor" could afford to fight environmental schemes. In March, the court of appeal overturned the costs order and the case is now going to a full trial.
Stookes argues that these are the cases the government has committed itself to protecting by signing the Aarhus convention more than a decade ago. Under this the government promised to make sure ordinary members of the public who wish to pursue environmental challenges should have access to legal redress that were "fair, equitable and not prohibitively expensive".
FoE's Michaels argues there are "very particular problems with legal aid" and the bringing of environmental cases, not least that public funding is only available to individuals and not community groups or environmental non-governmental organisations who might be better placed to fund challenges.
"In some cases the group can put forward one of their members who might happen to be financially eligible, but that comes with a whole range of usual problems. Is there somebody in the group eligible for legal aid? The threshold for legal aid is pretty tight," says Michaels.
Even then the Legal Services Commission often asks for a contribution to cover the other side's legal costs. In the case of Peacehaven the legal action was taken in one person's name, and the contribution asked for and raised by the people of Peacehaven for the judicial review was £5,000. Although a sizeable sum, FoE says it is a low figure. The community dug deep to cover the amount, only to be forced to call it day when the stakes were raised even higher.”
The incinerator plans at Capel were defeated in the High Court after a long legal process.If people don’t know where that is…the plumes would threaten Dorking,Reigate and some of the most valuable properties and farms in the country.I don’t think that money was the sort of problem it would be in Thornton Heath ,for example.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009



It’s quite difficult to realise the river Wandle is in a valley, when you are standing in Wandle Park, say. If you stand on the top of Banstead Road South on a clear day, you can see the ridge on which the Crystal Palace transmitter stands to the north. In between is a depression, really quite striking. It is part of the southern rim of the bowl inside which London has grown. The local part, in which a form of incinerator is likely to be built, to join the three others already on the eastern side (Edmonton, Belvedere and Lewisham). In the wrong weather conditions, an inversion layer can put a saucepan lid of warmer air over still, colder air. Like in the 1952 smog. This time what will be trapped will be invisible.

It is not a coincidence that the Megacities most troubled by air pollution are all forms of bowl cities: Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Beijing and London, already the most polluted in Europe, with the UK facing prosecution for breaking EU health based regulations. In the next ten years traffic is predicted to grow by 13%, jams by 60% and the population by 800,000. Things need to change drastically, and soon, to reduce the 4,400 annual death toll directly from air pollution. How many thousands of lorries will it take to deliver 200,000 tons of rubbish to Beddington, and the residues? When the roads are likely to be even more snarled up than before. Add to that the particulate pollution from the chimneys !

The level of the river Wandle is bound to rise. Much sooner than predicted before. Torrential rains will occasionally cause floods. Unfortunately for all of us the Victorians did not think to line their rubbish dumps, nor their industrial waste pits (though the US does not consider lining helps). When waters rise these sites will leak their poisons into the water table. The North-West planning group for climate change are seriously concerned about this in the Mersey basin, which has a lot. What about London’s Thames, and its tributaries?



Apparently there are tons of technologies to choose from out there. Is that 200,000 or 400,000 or 600,000 or 800,000 tons of technology, sorry, rubbish, a year that the SLWP are going to contract for. Sites will be “modular”, who will decide when the next module will be added…..the councils’ need for extra capacity or the contractor’s need for more profit? A local councillor said at one of the consultation meetings that the borough ought to ask for a 110% capacity, so it could earn some money (also indicating that the site would be in his borough).Meaning that out borough sources of rubbish would generate “profit”. In Germany the large incinerators have contracts to burn Dutch rubbish from over the border……even importing 280,000 tons of Australian hexachlorobenzenes, so dangerous that the tankers had to be kept out of the shipping lanes.

Another little trick the incinerator companies and DEFRA like to play is to state various mortality rates, emissions and pollutants as 0.00x value per ton. This sounds small, until you multiply them by 200,000 (etc.).

The London Waste Board is keeping a very low profile at the moment, but did give evidence at the latest GLA Environment Committee meetings on air pollution. It is chaired by Boris Johnston, who has, single-handedly, reversed more clean air policies in his first year than anyone created. Two of its council representatives are involved with the SLWP, and a third has the Edmonton incinerator in his patch. Its representative at the GLA was keen to make explicit that “wood, paper and cardboard” might be considered as incinerator fuel. He repeated this twice.

Last year the High Court ruled, when protesters fought the change of fuels of a local incinerator to rubber tyres and tarmac, that the original licence for burning did not have to be amended, nor additional planning permission sought, for this change in fuels. So, one day paper, the next rubber…it’s all the same to the law!


Pyrolysis, the poisoned peninsula and the problems of decommissioning.

The contemporary world faces a toxic legacy: environmental contamination caused by past industrial activities. In Britain most came from gasworks and coke plants which used pyrolysis to convert coal to gas.The by-products of pyrolysis are some of the most carcinogenic compounds known to man. In addition to concentrating pollution geographically, the manufacture of gas and coke displaced it chronologically by creating hazards that would long endure. Today, decades after they ceased production, many of the places where gasworks and coke plants once stood remain contaminated by toxic by-products.

Both the Dome and the Olympic Park had the bad luck to be planned and built on contaminated sites.The experimental nuclear reactor of Queen Mary’s college and its associated contamination provided considerable extra expense for one set of developers and the site of the South Metropolitan Gas company became a nightmare for the Dome builders.

The Greenwich peninsula contained "hot spots" with particularly high concentrations and quantities of hazardous chemicals. One of these was a big underground tar tank which had been shattered by a Luftwaffe bomb. But the chemicals left in the ground by years of spills and leakages dotted around the site had spread widely with the flow of groundwater. One type of waste, a catalyst contaminated with cyanide, was used as a foundation for roads there. The decontamination work has involved pumping up contaminated water and separating out the noxious chemicals, and taking 200,000 tons away in hundreds of lorry loads of the most contaminated soil to landfill sites (where are they now?) at a cost initially projected at 10.5 million but ended up half complete at 185 million.Any further development there can only be strictly curtailed, and a Japanese buyer walked away.

When any modern technology has at its base the physical chemistry process of pyrolysis it has the problem of how to dispose of the ash and tar.First there will be the storage costs,then the decomissioning.Be sure they will be fully accounted for in the contract, and not, like in the nuclear industry, left to be picked up by the local council tax payer.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Quick Burn-Fast Buck, the Perverse incentives to Pollute and Commercial Confidentiality

Virtually all the serious breaches of incinerator emissions laws in America and France are related to the burner being paid by the lorry-load. The slower burn is the safer burn, the completer burn. What happens when you want to burn those autumn leaves quicker, and put too much on the bonfire? It gets smoky straightaway and sometimes even goes out.
So, when an incinerator is commissioned, and has test burns for about a year,(England’s newest and best…Colnbrook….has been having problems here), people can work out the maximum rate of inputs to the burner air flows and the chimney draughts and ash catching methods. It’s like tuning a tuba, or a horn. So people can come up with optimum speeds for doing the job right.

France had an incinerator company, with government connections, whose management told the workforce to become “more productive”. In order to deal with more lorries they shut down the safety equipment (the chimney ash collectors),speeded up the screw feed drives and did this all at night, so that the inhabitants did not see the plume of smoke this tinkering produced. The local cancer rates shot up and , the locals blogged,7,000 cattle had to be slaughtered because of becoming “dioxinated”.

In the USA more than half of the breaches reported by a federal agency were related to speeding up the feed drives or bypassing the safety chimneys, or both.

Do you want “commercial confidentiality” to block public oversight of these issues? Do you really trust any government to put public safety first, above their version of a cost-benefit equation (where the mortality figures are often skewed)?


The new planning fix, councils’ duty of care and faux-consultations

The incinerator industry don’t want health effects and real before and after pollutant monitoring to be discussed now…they want it as part of the “planning process”, somewhere a long way down the line. The new legislation that the Labour government has brought in to steamroller Nuclear and Heathrow 3 can be just as easily used for Incinerators. It is a very different planning regime than the one we have got used to. More draconian, shorter, more limited witnesses, less appeal.
Councils are saying that there are lots of technologies out there…you bet there are….clean, dirty and very dirty….but they say they aren’t expert enough to decide what they should be (this is a real problem the country round) and will leave it to the chosen contractor. Really!?
What about their duty of care to the community, not only their own, but those neighbouring ones that are not part of the consultation process, but will be affected by burner accidents and chimney “leaks”. They will be footing the bill for disasters, not the PFI profiteers. They will be the ones in court using our council tax to fund their defence in cases of alleged negligence, like that in the High Court now about Corby.
The public should be consulted on the type of contract, the safety monitoring and frequency and independence of inspection regimes, the health monitoring of nearby nursery and primary schools, the pregnancy outcomes in the surrounding areas. Instead we are infantilised by badly structured documents where health was not even an option…….


We are all going to have to understand a bit more about "Technologies", the new PR buzzword used to cover a multitude of sins.There are certainly many varied approaches some more profitable than others....but you are never going to compost plastics or tyres or tarmac or asbebestos or electricals or pesticides.So here goes..with all credits to the British Society of Ecological Medicine

The Problem of Ash

The incineration of waste produces a large amount of ash, amounting to 30% of the weight of the original waste; 40-50% of the volume of compacted waste. This is important as landfill sites are becoming less and less available so there is an urgent need for a workable alternative. It is clear that incineration will not solve the landfill problem since it can only reduce the bulk by just under half. Little thought has been given to this and incinerator operators are still being given 20 to 30 year contracts creating problems for the future.
Incinerators produce two types of ash, bottom ash and fly ash, sometimes called air pollution control (APC) residues. The latter is highly toxic and listed as an absolute hazardous substance in the European Waste Catalogue. It has high concentration of heavy metals and dioxins. Many substances such as metals have little toxicity before incineration but become hazardous once converted to particulates or fine particles in the ash. In fact, the combination of pollutants in the fly ash can amplify the toxicity. Using a biological test, researchers found that the toxicity in fly ash was five times greater than could be accounted for by the content of dioxins, furans and PCBs303.Fugitive ash is the stuff that leaks out of the holes, and is a local problem.
There is a basic problem with modern incinerators. The less air pollution produced, the more toxic the ash. Early incinerators emitted large volumes of dioxins. These emissions have been significantly reduced, but at the cost of a corresponding increase in the fly ash, with similar increases in heavy metals and other toxic chemicals. An incinerator burning 400,000 tonnes of waste annually for its 25 years of operation would produce approximately half a million tonnes of highly toxic fly ash3. Apart from vitrification, no adequate method of disposing of fly ash has been found. The EU Commission have stated that leaching from landfill sites may be one of the most important sources of dioxins in the future. Heavy metals are known to have high leachability. The US Environmental Protection Agency considers that all landfills eventually leach through their liners. Most of the pollutants are very long lasting indeed and bioaccumulate.

Advanced Thermal Technologies (ATT) and Plasma Gasification

In contrast with non-thermal methods, any thermal method of dealing with waste carries an inherent risk of causing fatalities. Because of this thermal methods should only be used for residual waste after full separation of recyclables has taken place. If thermal methods are used, these should always be the safest ones available. In effect this means plasma gasification or gasification using the Thermoselect process. Japan has more experience of incineration than any other country and has started to use plasma gasification as a safer alternative to incineration. Plasma gasification is also in use in Canada.
Plasma gasification achieves the final objective by disposing of the residual waste after separation and recycling and other separating technologies such as mechanical-biological treatment. It can deal safely with the most hazardous types of waste and can produce up to three times as much energy as incineration.
Gasification has been employed by the natural gas industry for over 80 years but has not, so far, been used extensively for dealing with waste, although such plants are now in operation in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Japan. Gasification produces high temperatures and can thermally decompose complex and hazardous organic molecules into gases and benign simple substances. Plasma refers to the gas when it has become ionized and this happens when an electric current is passed through the gas. A very important distinction from incineration is that it does not produce ash. The gas cleaning process can convert many contaminants into environmentally benign and useful by-products. The abatement equipment of incinerators and gasification units is very different. If the abatement equipment in an incinerator fails, as is all too common, people downwind from the installation will be subjected to dangerous pollution. If the abatement equipment in a gasification unit fails it will cause serious damage to the plant itself – so the plant has to be built to a much higher quality.
In a plasma gasification plant, the residual toxic substances including metals become encapsulated in silicate which is like being encased in stone. The plant will remove the toxic and persistent compounds from plastics and other chemicals and reform them. A good quality plasma gasification unit will not produce any adverse residues or by-products, only synthesis gas, silica, sulphur and salt. Synthesis gas is a useful by-product which can be used as a fuel; ─ a major financial advantage which allows the capital costs of the unit to be paid within a 7 year period. Although it is a relatively expensive process, it is far cheaper than incineration once the health costs are taken into account . Note also that it would not incur costs under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, potentially saving millions of pounds annually. A recent review of plasma gasification considered it to be a promising alternative to older technologies


The “Enclosed facilities with a Chimney Report” SLWP Feb 2009

Or how to fool most of the people some of the time (page 29)

Would you trust a bunch of administrators who were so frightened of an open public discussion of incineration, that they used those words to describe an incinerator, and hid the new hazardous waste streams that central government expects to be handled locally?

Rubber tyres
Animal bodies?
Radioactive medical waste
Infectious medical waste

Transported over public roads to a site where the dusts fly up the chimney or the ash leaks out the gaps or gets spread around the site, in house building materials or motorway foundations to leak its poisons slowly into the groundwater. Chimney ash washes collected in ponds for our new rains to flood, or even brand new collecting bags to burst.

Inspection regimes that are a joke because they ask permission in advance, are rare, don`t prosecute gross breaches and take no account of the “turn off and on” pollution peaks.

PFI contracts that leave all the clean up costs of accidents to the councils and take all the profits (like the nuclear industry).

But you don’t have to worry, because you won’t be asked your opinion on any of those questions. They are far too important for you to have a view on. Trust the incinerator industry and the Environment Agency to know what’s best, and all those MPs in Westminster…who have no financial connections with any of this whatsoever.
As none of this is happening you don’t need to monitor any health issues as a baseline, or set up pollution control monitoring of earth, air and water. You don’t have to count stillbirths, malformations and infant deaths before and after, or look very closely at the cancer rates…its just not businesslike, is it?