Archived press release
Press & Media

New research from Friends of the Earth reveals today that people living in the England's most deprived neighbourhoods are more likely to also bear the burden of pollution caused by incineration. Half of all municipal waste incinerators in England are found in wards that are in the10 per cent most deprived in the country, the study shows [1].

The Friends of the Earth study also looked at proposals for new municipal waste incinerators and found that new incinerators are not being proposed in the wealthiest wards within local authorities.

Friends of the Earth's study comes as the Environment Agency published comprehensive new research showing that poorer communities bear the burden of environmental problems as diverse as air pollution, factory emissions and flooding risk [2]. The Government is committed to tackling social exclusion, and environmental problems are an integral part of this.

Incinerators are an unwelcome addition to any area as they produce health-damaging emissions, bring in extra traffic and are a blight on communities. Such pollution can be avoided by using better ways to deal with household waste, such as recycling and reusing materials.

Friends of the Earth's Waste Campaigner, Anna Watson said:

"People in more deprived areas are bearing the burden of burning our waste.If we incinerated less waste, fewer communities would have to suffer this environmental injustice.The Government must introduce a tax on incineration to create an incentive against building new incinerators. Recycling is the answer, not incinerators in England's poorest communities.

"We applaud the Environment Agency for commissioning and publishing this research, and urge them to tackle the environmental exclusion faced by Britain's poorest communities. They can make a start by objecting to large incinerators that take waste from all communities but end up being built in deprived areas."

Graham Wroe, a local resident of Sheffield [3] said:

"Sheffield's incinerator is in one of the most deprived areas of the city and people that live near it worry about the emissions from the chimney. We suffer from traffic pollution and poor air quality and the incinerator adds to theseproblems.The city council should be looking at ways to reduce waste at source and increase recycling, instead of building a new incinerator which will pollute us for the next 30 years."

Notes

[1] See www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/incineration_deprivation.pdf (PDF†)

[2] A summary and full reports on the Environment Agency research can be obtained from the Environment Agency R&D Dissemination Centre, c/o WRc, Frankland Road, Swindon, Wilts SN5 8YF. Tel: 01793 865 000, fax: 01793 514 562, email: publications@wrcplc.co.uk

[3]Pollution and Poverty - Breaking the link - a briefing by Friends of the Earth, April 2001.
www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/sustainable_development/publications/envjustice/

[4] The ward where the Sheffield Incinerator is located is the 198th most deprived ward (out of 8,414) in England. And within Sheffield it is located in the 6th most deprived ward out of 29. This data is from the Government's Index of Multiple Deprivation (2000) that ranks all 8414 local authority wards in England in several categories including health, education, income, employment, housing and access to services.

To talk to local people living near an incinerator or campaigning against proposed incinerators, contact the press office.

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust