Sunday, 27 March 2011

Will New Waste Sites Will Make A Bad Situation Worse?

The consultation on the West London Waste Strategy which will see new waste facilities in West London ended on Friday.  This is Brent Green Party's submission:

1. The consultation suffers from a major weakness in that it  concentrates on selection of sites and not on the processes that will  take place on them. We submit that the type of process is a major aspect of the choice of sites, especially if some form of incineration is planned. We are being sold a pig in a poke.
2. A further weakness is the separation of the process of site selection  from the SA Objective to 'minimise the production of waste and increase  reuse, recycling, composting and recovery rates' . Urgent action on this
objective as a priority must surely have an impact on the need for sites and the type of processes that will take place on them.
3. There is already a concentration of waste facilities in the Park Royal (Ealing/Brent) area and the new sites suggested will increase this concentration and associated traffic.
4. The Sustainability Assessment shows that Brent is already the most densely populated West London borough (6,278 people per square kilometre against the London average of 4,779 and Hillingdon's 2,161) - yet new waste facilities are to be sited in the borough or on its borders. The SA states,  rather obviously,  that 'In general terms it can be expected that the greater the population density, the more people that are likely
to be affected by the waste facility'.  We are against choosing sites that will have a potentially detrimental impact on larger numbers of people.
5. Brent is ranked as the most deprived borough in West London and is in the 20% of the most deprived boroughs in England. Will the quality of life of its inhabitants be improved by more waste facilities, and will the trade-off of increased employment opportunities be sufficient to make up for the negative impact on health and the local environment?
6. Brent has the lowest average age of all the West London boroughs and has a growing child population as demonstrated by the increased demand for school places. Young bodies are much more susceptible to damage caused by pollutants and poor air-quality. There is a danger that more waste sites with increased levels of heavy traffic, alongside as yet unknown emissions from as yet undecided processes, could severely damage young people's health.
7.  In conclusion although the  Sustainability Appraisal report admits, 'Waste facilities have the potential to negatively impact on human health through increased noise or worsened air quality'  the proposed sites are in an area of high population density with large numbers of young people, and with a population already suffering from the poor health and other problems associated with economic deprivation. Siting the facilities here has the potential to make what is already bad, worse.

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