Merthyr defeats massive rubbish incinerator
25 October 2011

The scrapping of plans for a huge incinerator near Merthyr Tydfil is a victory for people power and common sense.

Friends of the Earth Cymru campaigned for nearly two years with Merthyr Friends of the Earth, thousands of local residents and dozens of community groups against the dumping of 750,000 tonnes of rubbish a year on one of the country's most deprived communities

Now the news that Covanta, the giant American company behind the proposal, has withdrawn the plan has delighted residents and campaigners.

A United Valleys Action Group spokesperson said, "This is great news for the local communities and for Wales,  and we welcome it as a victory for people power and common sense.

"We would like to extend special thanks to Friends of the Earth who have supported us tirelessly and unconditionally."

The incinerator was one of the first proposals put before the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), which made it much harder for local people to be heard and involved in the process.

Merthyr's success is a major blow to proposals for other incinerators across Wales, and will be a big boost for campaigns opposing plants in Cardiff, Newport, Anglesey and Deeside.

EXTINGUISHED: the story of Merthyr's successful campaign against the proposed incinerator.

BURNED: the story of the early stages of Merthyr's campaign against the incinerator.

Incineration isn't green

Incineration isn't a green option for handling waste, or an efficient way of producing energy. And the massive scale of the Merthyr proposal meant it would have been a waste management disaster.

This incinerator would have:

  • Burnt more than the projected residual waste in Wales
  • Discouraged waste reduction and recycling
  • Burnt valuable resources that would be better recycled
  • Been another dirty industry in an area of poor health and deprivation
  • Been bad for jobs - recycling creates 10 times more than incineration
  • Required waste to be transported all around the country
  • Produced toxic ash, air pollution and climate-changing carbon dioxide

Green jobs

Research from Friends of the Earth's shows how important sensible waste management can be for jobs and economic success. The report, 'Green Jobs in the Heads of the Valleys', concludes that about 3,000 new jobs could be created in the area through improvements in recycling and waste management, home energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy development.


open cast coal mine near Merthyr

© Mike Birkin