Examination of witnesses (Questions 460
TUESDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2000
LEA and MR
460. On the disposal side. The resource side.
How are you dealing with this? Just as we are talking about Best
Practicable Environmental Options, do you think that should also
be tied in with sufficiency and effective management of that resource,
the waste streams, so that we are meeting financial targets too?
Do you think you had the right basic assumptions in thinking what
you might need to deal with these streams?
(Mr Lea) Yes. We believe that there were various assumptions
based on the recycling ability of various different county and
district areas around the country. Some are very successful and
others may not be necessarily as successful as they are. However,
we have tried to assume the average impact on the sustainable
waste management for the country.
461. Did you take into account external costs?
(Mr Lea) In relation to?
462. Waste management.
(Mr Lea) We tried to incorporate within those figures
an external cost in relation to
463. Someone else would have to pick up the
tab of external costs that you have not accounted for. That was
why I was interested in your sending us those details.
(Mr Lea) We have also done a study on the revenue
costs of operating these. That will incorporate external costs
464. What I am talking about is external costs
to the country, to us all, not just the external costs that a
waste disposal authority itself might consider. Do you think we
ought to be talking about cost to the country as a whole here?
(Mr Lea) That is right. It is very important to recover
materials and also to recycle those materials that are possible
to recover. However, it is also important to keep those resources
down to a minimum as far as cost levels are concerned.
465. Do you really believe that municipal waste
is increasing at 3 per cent per annum?
(Mr Lea) We certainly believe so, as far as our figures
are concerned. There may be a difference in levels between household
waste and municipal waste but certainly the levels, on average,
are about 3 per cent a year.
466. Including amenity sites?
(Mr Lea) Yes.
467. You said that the Government is to be commended
for its actions to reduce hazardous nature of waste.
(Mr Lea) Yes.
468. What actions are there to take, which are
not required by EU legislation?
(Mr Lea) Obviously, as far as the Government is concerned,
it is in a position to include hazardous waste as a limitation
to landfill. There is probably too much hazardous waste going
to landfill at this moment in time because the facilities do not
necessarily have the additional capacity to avoid going to landfill.
So there is a need to install those facilities at some stage in
469. What about hazardous nature of household
waste? Is that in your calculations?
(Mr Lea) Yes. Certainly, Greater Manchester's local
authority civic amenity sites and household waste recycling centres,
we take the opportunity to take materials of a hazardous nature
out of the waste stream whenever we can, although there are materials
which get into the waste stream from the household.
470. There is no way to remove domestic batteries,
is there, from the system at the moment?
(Mr Lea) Certainly not currently, as far as separation
from the household. However, we in Greater Manchester have devised
various techniques for separating materials out of the waste stream
because we are more of a processor. We handle something in the
region of 1.4 million tonnes of waste a year and it is a microcosm
of an area having 400
square miles and 2 and a half million people. Quite a considerable
amount of waste is delivered to our door.
471. How many incinerators do you plan to build?
(Mr Lea) We are not currently planning to build any
incinerators at this moment in time.
472. Do you think more incinerators could lead
to an increase in hazardous waste?
(Mr Lea) Certainly, as far as the building of incinerators
are concerned, there is a need to recover the materials; hopefully,
recovering energy from those processes. But I would not necessarily
say that it would encourage more hazardous waste into the waste
473. Could you put a caveat on that very quickly.
How would you prevent it happening in terms of what you fed into
(Mr Lea) Obviously there is an important collection
perspective on this, in that householders should be asked to try
to isolate those commodities from the waste stream at source.
474. Are you responsible for the actual collection
of domestic waste then in the Greater Manchester area?
(Mr Lea) At this moment in time, no. We are the waste
disposal authority's company. There are the individual districts
of Greater Manchester, nine of the original ten collection authorities.
475. You mentioned a figure of 3 per cent. I
am fascinated by this figure. If you do a calculation over six
years that comes to 24 per cent growth.
(Mr Lea) Yes.
476. Wheelie bins are not going to be able to
cope with that, if that figure is right.
(Mr Lea) There is certainly a growing waste stream.
There needs to be a system put in place to minimise the creation
of waste. At a time when we are all talking about recycling and
recovery, there is still this increase in the waste stream.
477. We are all told that the public are becoming
far more conscious of the need to stop putting so much stuff in
their wheelie bin yet, if this is right, they are going in the
opposite direction. I do not believe it.
(Mr Lea) Certainly the facts that we have
478. No-one has come up with facts that are
sustainable in the evidence, have they? You have not.
(Mr Lea) Sustainable, in effect, that we are talking
about a global waste stream which we receive via our civic amenity
sites and through our central processing from a collection of
the district authorities, that there is this growth factor.
479. Could you briefly outline to us your waste
making process and how the outfit is used.
(Mr Lea) For many years GMC,
the authority, and now the company, invested quite a substantial
amount in research and development, particularly around the building
of our pulverisation plants. It is based on a DANO process, which
is a biochemical mechanical process, from which you get attrition,
which then breaks down the household waste that arises. It is
able to separate out bulky materials from the finer parts of the
waste stream, which is more the organic and finer particles less
than 45 millimetres in size. We then have developed further screening
techniques for separating out such things as batteries. We do
have a density process, which is a patented design, for separating
out the heavies from the lights.
1 Witness correction 500. Back
Note by witness: Waste collection is the responsibility
of the nine district councils of Greater Manchester. Waste disposal
is the responsibility of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal
Authority. Greater Manchester Waste Limited is wholly owned and
controlled by the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority
and is their contractor for waste management. Back
Note by witness: GMC was the Greater Manchester Council