Archive for August, 2007

Greens Call On Salmond To Investigate WMD Transport Risks To Public

Green Co-convener Robin Harper MSP has written to the First Minister calling for an inquiry into the use of Scotland’s roads for transporting weapons of mass destruction. Military and civil emergency planning exercises in recent years have shown the potential for disaster and exposed the ill-preparedness of government agencies.

In the letter to Alex Salmond Harper calls for the review to cover the potential effects of any serious road traffic accident or other disaster and the potential areas affected; the adequacy of current safety planning by the civilian organisations; and any suggested measures for alleviating the effects of a major disaster.

Robin Harper MSP said:

“Weapons of Mass Destruction are a danger to the Scottish people and the environment and risks are taken almost daily with the transport of deadly cargo up and down our roads.

Although the political majority to block these transports is not yet readily available – with the Tories, Labour and Libdems all happy to continue to run these risks into the foreseeable future – at the very least the public should be aware of the dangers and the emergency planning system should be opened for clear inspection.”

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Incineration Plans Will Test SNP Commitment To Green Policy Of Zero Waste

Reacting today to reports that councils are set to proceed with plans for up to 17 new waste incinerators across Scotland in order to avoid falling foul of a European directive to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, Greens said that the new SNP government will face a test of their commitment to greening government as it will make the final decision whether to approve the proposals.

The previous Lib. Dem./Labour Executive favoured incineration with Lib. Dem. Environment Minister committing £20m towards waste plans that included incinerators just before the election in May. Greens have been alerting the Scottish people to these plans for months.

Greens say that moves towards more incineration will undermine efforts to reduce waste volumes and to increase recycling rates. The SNP has committed itself to supporting the Green Party policy of a ‘zero waste strategy’ which would also be undermined by a new wave of incinerators

Robin Harper MSP said:

“Using the sky as a landfill site is not the answer to our waste problem. The problem is the amount of waste we produce in the first place and we need to reduce that, and make products with ‘zero waste’ in mind. That is the way forward. Incinerators, especially if operated as private businesses, will be hungry for as much rubbish to burn as possible to make them profitable. That sends entirely the wrong signal. The SNP Environment Minister has signalled an interest in our policy of a ‘zero waste strategy’ for Scotland. He now has the opportunity to show he is committed to it by refusing to fund waste plans with major incinerators included.”

Zero Waste is an approach used in many other countries which have achieved major reductions in waste volumes and increases in recycling rates way above Scotland’s very low level of 25%.

Harper added:

“One ton of mixed household ‘rubbish’ has the potential to provide £700 worth of recycled/manufactured product. Landfill is a cost, incineration through ‘waste to energy’ will just about cover the cost of transport, and under the highly centralised pattern proposed, will waste up to 50% of the heat energy produced. At the same time this will tie in our waste resource use programme into supplying the very costly installations with fuel for the next 25 years, diverting valuable potential resources away from recycling opportunities that await them. This will set back the development of a zero waste policy by a quarter of a century.”

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