Scilly’s AONB Boss Speaks Out Against Waste Management Plans

aonb signThe manager of the Isles of Scilly AONB has said he doesn’t support the dumping of inert waste material at Porth Wreck and that there are “significant challenges” with using Pendrathen Quarry instead.

The paper written by Dr Trevor Kirk in response to the Council’s Waste Management consultation, and presented at last Thursday’s AONB Joint Advisory Group meeting, says that access to the Porth Wreck site by heavy vehicles could cause significant damage to adjacent scheduled monuments.

And hard engineering at Porth Wreck, such as rock armour, could result in accelerated coastal erosion in adjacent areas as wave energy is deflected and concentrated elsewhere.

Trevor says using Pendrathen Quarry is the “least worst? option but warns there must be “rigorous testing” of the material to establish that it’s inert.

Increased traffic, noise and dust affecting the residents of residents of McFarland’s Down would also “require sensitive management.”

And the AONB wants assurances that dumping 13,000 tonnes of material at Pendrathen would not affect the current recycling of building materials at the site.

Trevor says he welcomes the Council’s recognition of the importance of waste reduction, and not just recycling, but feels they need to be clearer on their strategies for achieving this.

The AONB wants future consultations to focus on this area.

7 Responses to Scilly’s AONB Boss Speaks Out Against Waste Management Plans

  1. Ray and Linda Wornes March 20, 2013 at 11:40 am

    We are delighted to hear that two Green Party candidates will be standing at the local elections in May and sincerely hope that should they be elected they will be able to bring an increased awareness to the Council of the importance of protecting this special island environment.

    Sadly, Trevor Kirk is sending out conflicting messages. His report presumes the need for a new incinerator and supports SLR’s proposals yet he also advocates more waste prevention, re-use and recycling etc. Surely, he should know that incineration is incompatible with recycling and that if we have a new incinerator it is highly unlikely that the Council would want us to separate our paper, cardboard, plastic and other recyclables in the future. This is because incinerators need to consume vast quantities of these materials to fuel the process to reduce the amount of oil needed to complete the burn. We face 3 more decades of low-level recycling and toxic air and ground pollution from a new incinerator.

    Also, Mr Kirk believes every effort should be made to ‘secure energy capture’ from a new incinerator. The level of energy capture is very low compared to the potential energy present in the recyclable materials. When recyclables are destroyed in incinerators, new ones have to be made to replace those lost materials. As these products are made from fossil fuels, e.g. oil and wood pulp, we are contributing to the increase in CO2 by burning recyclables.

    We know that in many areas of the country, Green Party groups are campaigning against incineration and we hope that our Green Party candidates will also oppose incineration.

    Finally, rather than agreeing to the ‘least worst option’ for the dumping of Moorwell waste in Pendrathen Quarry, Mr Kirk is employed to look for the best possible option which we believe is the transportation of separated waste for recycling and our toxic waste to a suitable site on the mainland. Whilst he believes it is too expensive, has he done his homework because we believe it is affordable? This has to be compared to the millions to be spent on a new incinerator together with huge on-going operating costs, especially if this is a privately run operation as many are.

    Mr Kirk also mentions the ‘inappropriateness of landfill’ in Scilly. So why does he support landfill in Pendrathen? We could be facing many years of heavy lorry traffic and dumping of unspecified waste (impossible to screen) which could lead to the toxic pollution of the Pendrathen and Bar Point coastline. Do the designations of Heritage Coastline, AONB and Conservation Area mean as much to Mr Kirk as to islanders?

  2. Barbara L March 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Can one assume that the 981kg of waste/year attributed to every islander includes the waste generated/accumulated on behalf of us visitors? How about an awareness campaign (like the water saving notices in the ‘old’ days) suggesting some positive actions – just one example: don’t buy a new plastic bottle of water every day – refill just one (with the very potable tap water); better still bring one with you from the mainland and take it back there. I know of at least one B&B that already suggests such measures – in the internet age it should be easy to inform most visitors; and most of us will surely wish to do our bit to reduce damage to the islands we love visiting.

  3. Nobby Nobbs March 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    I think we as an island need to be responsible for our own waste, we make it, we need to deal with it, shipping it back to a landfill site on the mainland should not really be an option.
    From the ground Moreswell alp looks huge, however from the air, it’s not so bad, and looks manageable.

    I suggest mixing the waste with concrete and making into blocks that can be used for building foundations, coastal defences, harbours or land bridges to the off islands

  4. Mark Prebble March 19, 2013 at 7:24 am

    That’s an interesting question Mike B.

    The tonnage quoted comes from the WasteDataFlow web site @
    This system enables the council to comply with its obligation to report data to the Monitoring authority under the Landfill directive.

    Much of the data is only available to the public in its raw form rather than as a report, which makes for a close reading and analysis of various spread sheets if any meaningful detail is to be obtained, (all offers of help gratefully received). However there is a summary report titled Household waste collected which gives the figure I have used.

    There is a lot of other detail in this data which throws some light on what the council is reporting with regard to waste. For instance there is another report titled Total Collected Residual Waste which states that for the same annual period as the figure for tonnage /head, the council reported a total of 2,448.25 tonnes collected, this combines household and non household waste.

    There is guidance on how to access and use this information but I am aware that despite the transparency of the data any critical analysis will require some careful thinking through before any claims are made.

    I trust this helps answer your question.

  5. Mark Prebble March 18, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Well chosen words by Trevor in his analysis, the call for a clear strategy that addresses the current problem in a meaningful way is an important step in the right direction from one of the Islands guardians and to be welcomed.

    However, the problem of preventing the Alp reappearing in the future, as a consequence of poor policy that fails to grasp the nettle of waste reduction, remains unresolved with the proposals currently undergoing “consultation”.

    With every islander producing over 981kg of waste/year in 2011/12, a figure that is a staggering more than twice the national average, surely it is time that we as a community take some responsibility for the damage we are doing to these islands we call home.

    • Mike B March 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Mark, I’d be interested to know where the figures came from. I understand that trade waste isn’t weighed (and charged) because the weighbridge at Moorwell has never been calibrated. How do they get this figure?

      • Mike Brown March 19, 2013 at 11:24 pm

        Btw Mike B is not Mike Brown