Council Announces Plans To Demolish Moorwell Incinerator

The waste incinerator at Moorwell

The waste incinerator at Moorwell

News that the Council plans to demolish the Moorwell incinerator has been described as “absolutely fantastic” by the veteran St Mary’s waste campaigner, Ray Wornes.

The authority announced yesterday that the facility will be closed sometime between the end of December and the middle of January, and the Moorwell dump redeveloped into a Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

That’s likely to start in the spring, followed shortly after by the demolition of the incinerator and leveling of the site.

Ray said he was “almost in tears” when he heard the news at the Waste Forum Meeting yesterday.

He says he’s been pushing for the incinerator to be closed for 30 years, following a lengthy public enquiry in the 80’s over plans to manage waste on the islands.

In August last year, Radio Scilly revealed that the incinerator was routinely breaching legal emission limits for toxic substances like dioxins, and the Council brought in specialist help to try to get the facility operating more efficiently.

Even as recently as January this year, Cllr Steve Sims, the Chairman of the General Purposes Committee, admitted they were still struggling to get the emissions under control.

There had been plans to replace the incinerator with a more modern version, and Ray says he’s pleased the Council doesn’t intend to do that now.

He says it’s become clear since the weighbridge was implemented earlier this year that there’s actually a lot less waste being produced in Scilly than had been thought and the costs of a new incinerator couldn’t be justified.

In yesterday’s statement, the Council said the redeveloped site will allow recycled materials to be processed ready to go to the mainland. Any remaining ‘black bag’ waste will also be sent to a mainland incinerator, which can turn it into energy.

The Council says it will be consulting with the community during February and March about the best way to introduce recycling collections.

Ray says members of the Waste Forum were “very optimistic” about the plans.

12 Responses to Council Announces Plans To Demolish Moorwell Incinerator

  1. Sara Corbett December 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I do worry that this will increase, the already bad, rat problem. Has any thought been put to sort that out. More rats will certainly deter visitors. It needs to be addressed before all these wonderful ideas of shipping the waste to the mainland. Also there will need to be many more shippings to the mainland to accommodate them. Have you the manpower and the boatpower??

    • Todd Stevens December 10, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Rats-What Rats? When the mound of house waste was removed from the islands there were remarkably few rats to speak of-and those there were there were dealt with. The only Rat free place in Britain is St Agnes here at Scilly. The mainland has a far, far, worse problem than we have ever had here -so no worries!

  2. Todd Stevens December 9, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Brilliant news!! One things for certain, things have certainly been moving along after the old regime was been swept away. If that incompetent lot were still in office none of this would be happening now at all- and the Alp would still be there. It isn’t, and nor will this structure be either soon. New roads; new runways and terminals.

    Whats with all the negative waves-Have a little faith Moriarty-have a little faith!!

  3. pete hicks December 9, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Adam….your island CHOOSES to back log your refuse !!! for the last 3 or 4 years your contractor has only brought down any significant waste in the form of bailed rubbish on pallets at the end of the summer.

    this year we were indeed out of service through October which caused a small back log on all the islands (4 bags on bryher for example) but with a 2 week half term during this time the rubbish generation was down so it was deemed a sensible time to pull the freight vessels for refit ready for the winter.

    re backlogging : i seem to remember the first year it was about 180 pallets, then 160 and this year approx 150 to go. This is fine by me as we can easily carry it in the quieter months (makes sense).I’m not sure the dump liked this option..

    So please dont turn it round that its someone elses fault that you have a back log.

    On the designated rubbish days we only get on average 2 or 3 bags from st martins through the summer,with 1 sometimes 2 of these being just glass bottles whereas on the other 2 council collections we on average move 6-7 bags a week.
    Sometimes it is requested by bryher to do a second collection which is easily accommodated within the launch time table.
    The rubbish coming out of st martins and bryher is at times putrid to say the least. Bags are festering, have holes in them , liners with holes in (rats i imagine) or no liners at all.
    The thing is St Agnes doesnt suffer from this same level of bad smelly rubbish ?? is it better management , better storage,better collection or just plain old better co-operation within the island community ?? don’t know ?
    i dont blame the contractors in the slightest : they all do a great job and at the end of the day have to bring what is presented at the dump to the quay for collection.

    i have heard stories from people who worked the dump and glass crusher that disposable nappies are common in the glass bags and they clog up the crusher …i’ll give you a wild guess which island this was noted it came from.

    As in another post you mentioned the carriage of rubbish with food stuffs.
    I can assure you (and the readers) that i do EVERYTHING that can be done to pick up the rubbish of the island that is last on the trip around.
    This means we have an empty boat of food stuffs but if tides dont allow and we have to pick up rubbish with goods still on deck then the rubbish ALWAYS goes at the back of the boat, away from goods up the front, is lifted clear of the goods and after we’ve carried rubbish the deck is washed off with buckets of water and detergents/bilgex or if really bad the fire hose.
    one example of that is going to Bryher and Tresco before St Martins when the tide dosent allow to head back into St Marys before heading to higher town…that rubbish is placed at the stern,
    You do realise that the lorries that take the rubbish to the moorwell dump ,carry food goods also and they too i’m sure wash the deck off.

    anyway , we’ll have your “back logged” refuse out by Christmas

    best regards
    pete hicks

    Skipper of the lyonesse lady : ISSCo owned inter-island freight vessel

    • Adam Morton,St.Martins December 10, 2014 at 12:58 am

      Pete, I distinctly remember being on the quay prior to the launch going out of service and hearing you grumbling about how much stuff people were ordering in, What exactly do you expect? Contrary to St.Marys popular belief we do have work to do and a four week gap inevitably results in another four week gap while backlogged freight is cleared at PZ. In affect this makes it normally two months with often the same procedure in the spring. I tried every other tide week to send an animal trailer of pigs last winter and in the end had to wait till the SCIII came back into service in March because the Gry has to leave before the launch can return to St.Marys. This involved an extra 5 months feeding with food freighted in at a cost higher than the feed value! On top of this there is the shipping cost of the animals in and out and then back again! This makes the enterprise for selling local produce utterly pointless and a loss maker! Latterly I have had a small tractor (among other items)waiting since early October to be shipped in, eventually it was booked for the third of Dec and I’m still waiting! In practice you cannot get anything bulky shipped in from March to June because of Gigs taking up space, after that, most are involved with the tourist season until the process starts all over again!
      St.Agnes & Bryher have far smaller populations and less industry than St.Martins as you must know by the volume of freight going up there! Naturally the same stuff will have to go out again at some point! I met your management up here the other week and they denied that anyone had to wait weeks for their goods to be shipped or that there was any issue with freight storage at PZ, Incidentally my very next order was turned away for out of town storage costing me an extra £170! The rubbish is not an issue to me but it is the only one of public interest and therefore likely to get attention and so has to be a means to an end!
      The Council transport committee has totally distanced itself from any obligation to asses the service so the only way to get them to take notice is where it affects the Councils responsibilities.No one doubts that you and the other crews do the best you can but that does not mean the service would not benefit from public investment which your management seem apposed to.I accept that this might affect shareholdings but I presume they would be equally upset at an alternative service being started?
      The economy of the off islands is fragile enough with our shorter season and extra costs and it is galling that so much investment is being put into St.Marys that has almost zero effect on the off islands. Labor is becoming increasingly in short supply, In our case just two of us to run our business which doesn’t leave the equivalent of a day a week ,too and froing to the quay on the off chance our frozen stuff is thawing out on the end of lower town quay! The other day everything was dripping wet ,falling to bits and not a cold box in sight! It really does take three days sometimes to get groceries all in the same order up here! That’s a huge waste of time and money for us. I fully accept that it isn’t yours or the companies fault but is it really the case that an improvement is impossible?
      Your management hold up their record breaking profits as reason for dismissing subsidy. Surely they can see that the record slump in numbers which this coincided with has not enabled anyone else to achieve the same?
      Thank you for your efforts and contributing to the forum using your own name and job.
      Adam Morton (fishing boat owner, restaurateur of local produce and provider of school dinners for St.Martins base)

    • Adam Morton,St.Martins December 11, 2014 at 9:00 am

      BTW, St.Agnes & Bryher both got secure sites where people are only let in on specific days under supervision, Council never got around to doing St.Martins site so its open to the public and whatever they choose to put there in whatever form. I happen to know that the Tesco crates are still in use to prevent nappies etc going in with the glass so the “stories” simply aren’t true.St.Martins bales all its packaging material because the launch simply won’t cope with the volume in summer when most of it occurs! Now that they are dismantling the incinerator, I wonder what they propose to do with the bales!If its sent down loose to go with the rest ,you would never fit it on the boat! Before bailing there was two large trailer loads per week and that was with the two biggest contributors at the time burning all their packaging!
      I seriously doubt that the hygiene issues would satisfy the soon to be appointed environmental health official in much the same way as the MCA were demanding the boatmen tie up with 12 ropes every time they pulled into the steps! Officialdom knows no common sense it merely ticks boxes on clipboards! You know and I know that its not a problem but the LA is constantly declaring how it will be “legal” and how we must be brought in line with national & EU standards, I don’t think they know where to start!
      A few years back they declared burning to be illegal yet their own incinerator was even worse! There’s is enough to tie them up in knots for years! Take it a stage further- who says that all the fuel used to transport the waste let alone that used to process it is less polluting than simply dragging it into a heap and setting fire to it ?
      Its a fact of life that the standards of living we enjoy here in the west has its price-someone somewhere has to deal with the dirty bits and the risks that no one wants to see. Their answer is telling themselves that there is a magical solution that removes the problem whereas in fact it will just end up as landfill or shipped out to a country where they will be paid 50p a day to dismantle it and have a life expectancy of 40!
      Its exactly the same as power generation-the people round here have the right to uninterrupted views and idyllic lifestyles because somewhere else people who cant afford to live anywhere else have a bloody great nuclear reactor on their doorstep!
      The same argument is used to explain offshore wind farms that cost more to maintain and produce than they actually produce just so as the government can hit its EU targets without crossing swords with the nimby’s!
      Do I take it that the whole of Moorwell is going to be roofed in with solar panels to offset some of the carbon used in shipping out the waste?

  4. Adam Morton,St.Martins December 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I think this displays Scilly’s nimby culture perfectly! There’s a lot less waste because visitor numbers remain significantly down, Some continue to burn waste and there’s a backlog on this island at least which is only just being removed!I I remain unconvinced of the competence of the authority or that they have any real notion of logistics or even of legal obligations , let alone having completed any study as to the true environmental impact of any solutions! Black bag waste turned into energy! Ever tried burning the stuff?

  5. Jonathan Smith December 9, 2014 at 11:30 am

    This is a very positive step forward in the Islands’ waste management. It’s less than ideal for any waste to be incinerated, but perhaps the neccesity of shipping waste off to be incinerated (and the resultant costs) will ensure that any non-recyclable waste will be minismised.

    There’s no technical reason why we can’t, as a community, achieve recycling rates well in excess of 50%. Separation at the household level will be key as well as good facilities provided by the Local Authority.

    This step change in waste management policy must be welcomed by all.

    • Steve December 9, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      I agree that this is great news but I hope no-one will underestimate the challenge of getting visitors to separate out their household waste. Whatever scheme is put in place will need to be easy to explain to visitors who may only be here for a few days and for whom separating out their rubbish may be low on their holiday agenda.

      • Crotchet December 9, 2014 at 11:03 pm

        Ha ha Steve. That’s funny. Us mainlanders have been separating out our rubbish for years. We can show you islanders how to do it while we’re over if you like 😉

        • John J December 10, 2014 at 8:37 pm

          Yes totally agree with Crotchet we find it very hard/alien to now put all the rubbish in one bin/bag when over Scilly. If you need any advice on what to do Steve just ask some of us “mainlanders” 😉 as Crotchet says we have been doing it for years and it now comes as second nature to us.

          • Steve December 11, 2014 at 8:31 am

            Crotchet and John J – my main home is on the mainland. In fact I live in an area with the best recycling record in England (if the Council is to be believed) so I don’t personally require any lessons, thank you 🙂 However,. I am also fortunate enough to own a holiday home on the Islands which is let out to visitors in the summer. Based on my experience, holidaymakers do not always show a high level of consideration when bagging up their rubbish. This may be because the standard bins are not big enough to take all the rubbish that the average family on holiday can generate in a week; it may also be because “handover” days rarely coincide with bin collection days so families often arrive on the Islands to discover that their bin is already full. I’d really like to think that recycling will be successful and – like you – it has always seemed strange that an AOB has been so slow to adopt what is now common practice on so much of the mainland. BUT, in supporting this initiative we need to recognise that – in the summer – the overwhelming majority of the Islands’ population is migratory and this may present specific challenges that will need to be addressed.