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Northampton Labour Group Oppose Gasification Plant in St. James

Northampton Borough Council must work with retailers and businesses to reduce waste where possible. Northampton Borough Council must do all it can to encourage reuse and recycling. The present contract with Amey is due to expire in June 2018. This is an opportunity to examine how to increase reuse and recycling most effectively.

The connection between waste collection and waste disposal is currently disjointed as they are overseen separately by the Borough Council and the County Council respectively. An argument for unitary status is that waste collection and waste disposal can have an integrated and joined up approach which is not happening at the moment.  Waste collection should be dry compostables, recycling material and residual waste.     We need to encourage safe disposal of items produced through domestic use such as used cooking oil, batteries, and paint products. Land fill must be kept to a minimum and not include toxic waste. Incineration may be harmful and is generally not welcome by residents.

 Anaerobic digestion and gasification are options to be considered. The siting of these facilities should be away from high density residential areas where there is already significant air pollution. Anaerobic digestion and gasification produce biogas and syngas respectively, which can be converted to hydrogen and then used to power e.g. public transport, produce cheaper local electricity for businesses, public institutions and homes.

 Northampton Labour Group Statement on the proposed gasification plant in St James.     Land fill is a huge issue for Northampton. We are running out of land suitable for Landfill and the land that has been used is toxic. This is what makes development at Sixfields problematic being a former landfill site.  The toxicity has the potential to leach into our water supplies and to cause poisonous emissions.

Too much waste is going to landfill and we need to find alternatives.                          

Gasification may be one alternative.                                                                                                                     

St James is a densely populated residential area with high volumes of traffic and air pollution levels that are too high. St. James is a gateway into the town centre for traffic (such as reaching the train station and the town centre) and experiences additional traffic for some weekends due to match days at the Saints Rugby Club and at NTFC.  The proposed site for the gasification plant boarders an area where there are oil tanks and a petrol station. It is close to residential areas and community centres. This represents a major hazard.

 There is an unresolved debate about the amount of harmful toxins released by the facility.  The site would generate a huge volume of traffic. Our estimates are:- Two hundred thousand tons of material a year will be brought onto the site. If the material is to be brought to the site by road on 20 ton lorries:-

·        that  gives 200,000 divided by 20 = 10,000 lorries

·        each lorry will be counted going into the site and coming out, that is 20,000 vehicle movements.

·     if the site works every day of the year, this leads to – 20,000 divided by 365days = 55 vehicle movements per day.

·    assume an 8 hour day, that is just under 7 vehicles per hour or one vehicle every 9 minutes.

Cllr. Rufia Ashraf (Labour St James) says, “The plan seems to involve 20 ton vehicles entering or leaving the site every 9 minutes, 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, year after year. It will not be possible to arrange for an even flow of these lorries so there will inevitably be bunching with sometimes two or three vehicles waiting to enter the site. This represents a major local disturbance and a major hazard. The site should be rejected for this reason.

Northampton Labour Group is in favour of realistic alternativeness to landfill. We see this as a matter of some urgency. We understand that gasification may be part of the solution. We further understand that residential areas, such as St James, need to be protected from the potential hazards involved with gasification. We understand the hazards to be industrial accidents and heavy traffic volumes leading to an increase in air pollution.”

Cllr Danielle Stone (Labour Castle) says “The Labour Group supports Gasification and the proposal for cheaper energy for residents and local business as a medium term measure and an alternative to landfill. The Labour Group is strongly opposed to the proposed location of a gasification site in St James.  The best place for a plant like this is on the perimeter of Northampton.  With this in mind we accept the need for a gasification plant near the town but firmly reject St James as the location.  We are all part of the problem...we must be part of the solution. We need to work together!”

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