Saturday, January 14, 2006

EU Waste Management: A Waste of Time

Christopher Booker had an interesting article in the Sunday Telegraph on how the European Union is destroying Britain's ability to effectively manage our waste. He pointed out
Since we handed over to Brussels the right to dictate waste management policy, the Commission has decided to phase out disposal by landfill (largely inspired by countries such as Holland and Denmark that have no space for it), and to go instead for incineration and recycling (hence the piles of incomprehensible bumf many of us recently received from our local councils about new recycling rules - with no mention of the EU).

All of this may sound like exactly the kind of enlightened "green" policy favoured by David Cameron's exciting new "Not-the-Conservative Party", until one looks at its practical implications.

According to a report last week by the Institute of Civil Engineers, the capital investment in new infrastructure needed to implement this recycling strategy will amount to £10 billion, or £400 for every household in Britain.

Peter Jones, a clued-up director of Biffa, Britain's largest waste company (and exactly the sort of adviser that Mr Cameron ought to be hiring on environmental matters, rather than John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith), further warned that the annual cost of running the 300 "waste parks" needed to implement the EU's recycling policy could be as much as £8 billion a year, a tenth of the cost of the National Health Service.

The trouble is that it will not be economical to do this until the cost of landfilling rubbish, thanks to the steady £3 a year rise in the EU-inspired landfill tax, has risen to around £60 a tonne, which will not be for another four or five years. As our landfill tips disappear (they are currently closing at two or three a month), we shall be faced with a colossal waste crisis.

We shall no longer have any way to dispose of our rubbish because that £10 billion-worth of infrastructure and the 40,000 staff to run it will not be in place.

We have had a tiny foretaste of this chaos in the "fridge mountain", and with further Brussels waste laws on the way, matters threaten to become far worse.

We are already being threatened with massive fines by Mr Barroso's Commission for our inability to implement the unworkable "WEEE directive", which orders manufacturers to take back for recycling every single item of electrical and electronic equipment, from televisions and computers to pocket torches.

Such are the results of handing over ever more of the running of our country to a mysterious, unaccountable system which reduces our politicians to impotence, and which most commentators are far too grand to understand.

Click HERE for Booker's full article.
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