The proposed incinerator next to Blooms Garden Centre is being designed to burn 190,000 tons of rubbish a year, and force Quedgeley residents to breathe in the equivalent of between 3 and 6 cigarettes a day.
The designers reckon that they will capture 27,000 tons of ash, and release 163,000 tons to the air each year.
Some of the air quality monitoring data and predictions are becoming available. The incinerator is being designed to spread the 163,000 tons over as wide an area as possible, to reduce the pollution levels as far as possible. If they could spread it evenly across the whole county it works out at 52 grams per square meter, or about 2 ounces per square yard, across the whole county, each year, every year, for the next 30 years.
The modelling reckons that about 40% of the gasses will go into the high atmosphere and be blown as far as Scandinavia. But that leaves about 68,000 tons of ash to come back down as ash. The chimney is not high enough to fully disperse the smoke plume from the incinerator, and due to wind patterns, most of it will fall over Gloucester and Cheltenham, and that includes Quedgeley. The ash from the incinerator is equivalent to between 3 and 6 cigarettes a day, depending where you live. It is not until Bishops Cleeve that the fall out is below the equivalent of ½ cigarette a day!
Of the 27,000 tons of captured ash, they want to transport 6,000 tons each year to a special tip near Peterborough (if they can’t use the tip near Cheltenham). It is so toxic they can do nothing with it. They want to turn the remaining 21,000 tons of ash into building blocks or road stone aggregate. That’s equivalent to making 10,400 blocks a day, every day, for the next 30 years. To do this they have to release Hydrogen Sulphide from the ash, which is a very, very smelly process; it stinks like rotten eggs; anywhere within 5 miles of the plant will smell it. Last time I attended a briefing from Urbasser they said they want to build this "aggregate handling plant" alongside the incinerator. The effect of this production plant on the local area has not been disclosed.
The modelling assumes that the incinerator operates with specification at all times, at a minimum of 90% of capacity, for the next 30 years. 90% of capacity is equivalent to 171,000 tons of waste, but the whole of the County of Gloucestershire will not be producing that much residual domestic waste during the 25 year contract the Council wants to enter into. To make up the shortfall they will be diverting trade waste from recycling to the incinerator and may even import waste from out of county. They will have to ‘buy in’ a lot more waste in year 1 than in 25 year’s time. At the moment we don’t produce anywhere near enough waste to feed the incinerator at 90% of capacity. Burning less than 171,000 tons forces the incinerator to operate out of specification, not work properly, and produce more pollution.