Edinburgh Council today decided on the City’s approach to waste for the next 3 or 4 decades.The Council’s proposals are now to go to the Scottish Government tying Edinburgh to low levels of recycling and proposing that a waste treatment facility, likely to be an incinerator is built to process the rest of the waste.

An alternative proposal by the Greens for the Council to allow committee members to study the OBC and take evidence on more environmentally friendly alternatives was voted down. [3]

The Greens Environment spokesperson Councillor Steve Burgess said:

This is a critical decision about the way our society will deal with resources and whether we act to conserve resources by waste reduction and recycling or whether we accept a throw away culture where precious resources literally go up in smoke.

By taking such a decision the LibDem part of the Council Administration has effectively abandoned its election commitment to 75% recycling [2] and set us town the road to incineration and away from zero waste.

The LibDem/SNP Administration is telling the Scottish Government that Edinburgh is willing only to 45% recycling over the next 30 or so years when councils in the rest of the UK are at 40% now and countries abroad are reaching rates of 60-70%. [1]

A new waste treatment facility to handle Edinburgh’s household waste is very likely to be a mass burn incinerator. This is a backward step committing Edinburgh to a future of increasing waste rather than waste reduction and recycling.


[1] On 14th August the City of Edinburgh Executive agreed ‘Lothians and Borders Area Waste Plan Review July 2007 – Response from the City of Edinburgh Council’. Version 2, page 2, supports Options 4-6 which propose as much as 56% incineration and as little as 32% recycling.

[2] Edinburgh Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2007 states
We want to: aim for 75% recycling by 2020 on the way to Zero Waste as soon as possible thereafter.

[3]Text of Green amendment to the Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee, 25 September
B1 Delivering the Area Waste Project  Outline Business Case
7.2 That the Committee requests that its members are allowed to examine the OBC and that a briefing on this document is provided, before the Committee decides whether to approve its submission to the Scottish Government.
7.3 That the Committee considers the report on the recycling strategy and the adoption of a 45% target before it decides whether to approve submission of this OBC to the Scottish Government.
7.4  That the Committee agrees to undertake a short enquiry into delivery of the Area Waste Project to examine other options and their environmental impact, including taking evidence from key stakeholders, before an OBC is considered for approval.