GCC's incinerator at Javelin Park

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The lunchtime meeting on 14th July and again on 1st September was addressed by Dr Jonathan Whittaker and representatives from " Community R4C" (Tom Jarman and Jon Scott). Despite low attendance the presentations were very intersting and important. We received insights into how local politics and big business appear to be going against scientific evidence and the will of the local community. 

Dr Jonathan Whittaker explianed how In 2012 Gloucestershire County Council signed a 25 year contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty for a £500,000,000 incinerator to be sited at Javelin Park near junction 12 of the M5 motorway. This was a very contraversial decision which resulted in several legal challenges and street protests  His slide presentation (which may be downloaded here) describes the most important and concerning issues and additional material is given at the bottom of this web page:

  • notes to accompany Jonathan's powerpoint presentation 
  • negative consequences of burning waste 
  • plume plotter (live) 
  • comparison of Javelin park incinerator and the Community R4C alternative









Tom Jarman, (Co-founder of "Community R4C") and Jon Scott (Co-Chair) spoke about a community-led initiative to provide economic, social and environmental benefits for Gloucestershire by treating our waste as a valuable resource rather than burning or burying it. Now that planning permission has been granted for the £500m incinerator, the Community R4C initiative is seeking to provide a green and much more cost effective alternative using the latest technology and funded by a community share offer. His slide presentation (which may be downloaded here) describes this exciting proposal and includes links to two short but very informative videos  Community R4C are keen to hear from anyone who wants to be involved, become a follower or a member (investor - alongside some famous names!) Community R4C's 2017 annual report is here.

Gloucester Diocese will be raising the profile at the Clergy Conference planned for 28th to 30th September at Swanwick.


2nd September 2016.   GCEJN

Dr Jonathan's notes to accompany his power point presentation. 

Slide 1.

Probably ugliest building in County. Reason for 18-0 planning rejection. cf new motorway services. CO2 emissions cheating. Incineration well used in Europe. 40,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent saving claimed, but ACTUAL CO2 between 40-90,000 tonnes CO2. Faint chimney stack on artists drawing, yet this is most important part of building for the surrounding population due to airborne particles.

Slide 2.

Hempstead Landfill. Yes we ALL want to end its use, but a better system, not a worse one required! Incineration is environmental hooliganism. Loss of resources. High carbon footprint fuel. Highly toxic waste, both airborne and ash. Recycling discouraged as all bag waste is burnt.

Slide 3.

Airborne pollution by DEFRA’s own report is equivalent to 7 km of motorway. 7KM is vertical in one place, thus Incinerator, not M5 Motorway should have been declared as the major polluter. Filtration fails! Self regulation inevitable. MOT type testing means only fit on day of test! Low grade poisoning,  for distribution see ‘Plumeplotter’. Children and vulnerable adults at greatest risk. Micro and nanoparticles. Heavy metal coated. Incineration is climate crime, even more so at Gloucester where waste heat will not be used. Position of Javelin Park in relation to major population concentrations is like a sewage pipe at sea directed into a current straight back onto the beach!

Slide 4.

Recycling is an inconvenience, human nature takes the easy option. Out of EU, will we adopt those laws post Brexit? Will fines be imposed still for landfill? Will new Government go soft on recycling legislation?

Contract requires 96,000 tonnes per year. Residual waste levels falling across country as well as Glos. Lower gate fee at other incinerators. Overcapacity looming in UK.

Any 25-30 year contract is ludicrously outdated. Allows for no evolution in the industry.

Slide 5.

Potential scheme to monitor PM2.5 in 2 locations and NOx in 10 locations surrounding Javelin Park. – funding required. Freedom of Information Commissioner judicial not due to report until December 2016. UBB plan to construct perimeter fences and construction compound in August 2016. Then put in piles in Sept/Oct. Then begin foundations of build in Nov. R4C can be built quicker and for £15 million as opposed to £150 million. UBB given £30 million of our money prebuild already. R4C will recycle 90% of black bag contents. UBB project is ‘Crime of the Century’ and only worsens potential climate catastrophe. ‘Crisis what crisis?!’                                                                       

Thank you for listening!


Useful websites:  







Burning waste has many negative environmental, social and health consequences. 

Waste incinerators do all of the following:

  • Poison our environment, bodies, and food supply with toxic chemicals. Incinerators produce a variety of toxic discharges to the air, water and ground that are significant sources of a range of powerful pollutants, including dioxin and other chlorinated organic compounds that are well-known for their toxic impacts on human health and the environment. Many of these toxins enter the food supply and concentrate up through the food chain. 
  • Produce toxic byproducts. In addition to air and water emissions, incinerators create toxic ash or slag that must then be landfilled. This ash contains heavy metals, dioxins, and other pollutants, making it too toxic to reuse, although industry often tries to do so.
  • Undermine waste prevention and recycling. The use of incinerators feeds a system in which a constant flow of resources needs to be pulled out of the Earth, processed in factories, shipped around the world, and burned in our communities. This one-way linear system of resource extraction, production, transportation, consumption and disposal is a system in crisis. We simply cannot sustain this pattern indefinitely on a finite planet.
  • Contribute to global climate change. Incinerators emit significant quantities of direct greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, that contribute to global climate change. They are also large sources of indirect greenhouse gases, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, non-methane volatile organic compounds, and sulfur dioxide. In fact, incinerators emit more CO2 per megawatt-hour than any fossil fuel-based power source - including coal-fired power plants! But their greatest contribution to climate change is through undermining waste prevention and recycling programs, and encouraging increased resource extraction. 
  • Waste energy and destroy vast quantities of resources. People selling "waste-to-energy" incinerators claim that generating energy by burning trash is a win-win solution to our waste and energy crises. The truth, however, is that incinerators actually waste energy. When burning materials that could be reused, recycled, or composted, incinerators destroy the energy-saving potential of putting those materials to better use. Recycling, for instance, saves 3 to 5 times the energy that waste incinerator power plants generate. Incinerators are also net energy losers when the embodied energy of the burned materials is taken into account. For these reasons, "waste-to-energy" plants would be more aptly named "waste-of-energy" plants.
  • Drain money from local economies to pay for expensive, imported technology, and provide far fewer jobs than zero waste programs. Incinerators are bad for local economies. As the most expensive waste handling option, they compete with recycling and composting for financing and materials, and they only sustain 1 job for every 10 at a recycling facility.
  • Hide the evidence of dirty and unsustainable industries. Incinerators allow dirty industries to get rid of their toxic waste and hide the impacts of their practices. These industries depend on incineration to fuel our continued use of this system of unsustainable production and consumption. 
  • Violate the principles of environmental justice.Incinerators are disproportionately sited in poor or rural communities and areas of least political power. There are currently hundreds of proposals to build incinerators in Africa, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere.
  • Better alternatives to incinerating materials exist, and many communities where people are organized into strong grassroots movements have been able to defeat incinerators. Most things can and should be safely and economically recycled or reused, and we also need to simply use less and redesign our products so that they are toxic-free and built to last. This is the heart of a zero waste strategy that eliminates the negative environmental, social and health impacts of incinerator use.