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Covanta new giant energy from waste incinerator slammed by Friends of the Earth

Plans to build a giant new incinerator in south Wales have been slammed by
Friends of the Earth.

The environmental campaign charity warns that building a new incinerator in
Merthyr Tydfil will undermine green waste policies, destroy jobs, and saddle
local councils with unknown liabilities for decades to come.

American utility giant Covanta submitted proposals on Friday (31 December) for a
huge incinerator above the town of Merthyr Tydfil. With a capacity of 750,000
tonnes a year, it would rival the biggest incinerators operating anywhere in the
UK. The application is likely to be one of the first projects to be considered
by the new "fast track" planning system, which severely limits the rights of
local communities to be involved in the decision-making process.

Friends of the Earth is concerned that the huge size of the incinerator will
lead to many councils across Wales and beyond being tied into contracts of 25
years or more to feed it with waste – or face penalties if they do not. This
will undermine the drive to reduce waste and increase recycling rates. It may
also have an impact on local jobs because recycling provides more jobs than
incineration.

There is strong resistance to the incinerator proposal in Merthyr Tydfil, which
already suffers some of the worst levels of health, unemployment and deprivation
in the UK, and is at risk of becoming a magnet for dirty industries that would
not be accepted elsewhere. The proposed incinerator would be sited next to the
biggest opencast coal pit in the UK.

Friends of the Earth’s planning campaigner Mike Birkin said:
"Plans to build this giant incinerator in Merthyr Tydfil are terrible news for
local people and the environment.

"This huge waste plant will need to burn thousands of tonnes of valuable
resources every year to make it cost-effective, and this will completely
undermine efforts to cut waste and boost recycling.

"And because incineration creates far fewer jobs than recycling it would have an
impact on local employment too.

"The Government mustn’t allow the new fast-track planning systems to dump this
waste incinerator on the people of Merthyr.

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