Richard Gillard, a staunch supporter of our anti Covanta campaign has written today to Beds on Sunday – we feel it deserves reproduction in full.
Well done Richard !
Dear Mr. Thompson
Thank you very much for approaching me today at the IPC meeting to solicit my views on the proposed Covanta incinerator at Stewartby. To summarize what I said at the time, I think this proposed incinerator is a dreadful idea. The incinerator would be a monstrous carbuncle, sitting in the middle of what could be, and indeed is becoming, a very beautiful landscape.
This vile object, this incinerator, would, if allowed to go ahead, spew carcinogenic filth over the whole of Bedfordshire. What do the residents of Bedfordshire get in return? They get just 65 Megawatts of power. This is a pitiful amount of electrical power. As I said to you this morning, this is little more than the amount of solar energy, which falls on half a kilometre of land whenever the sun is shining. I realize this is a bold assertion for me to make. However, I have done my sums and I can assure you this is the case. I will show the authority for this statement, the science underlying my assertion, at the end of this e-mail. Now I do not know how much ground the Covanta Incinerator will cover. However, I would be surprised, bearing in mind the size of the incinerator itself and the parking space required for the presumably huge number of lorries required to bring waste matter to the incinerator and take fly ash from it, if the total footprint of the incinerator complex will be much less than half a square kilometre. This being the case, the maximum power output the incinerator has been designed to produce (i.e. 65 Megawatts) is probably less than the energy which could in theory be obtained from the sunshine, which would fall on this same area on a typical summer’s day.
Another point I made is that Professor Paul Connett, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Chemistry at the St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York, has shown on numerous occassions that certain combustion products produced by incinerators of this type, particles which he calls nano-particles, cannot be detected and monitored, let alone controlled. Please do not take my word for this. Here is a link to a YouTube video in which Professor Connett makes this point (among others): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm9YzhOrB9Q. Please may I ask you to watch at listen to this video? It is less than 3 minutes in length so it will not take up much of your time. The term Nano particles sounds a bit technical. The dimensions of atoms and molecules are measured in units close to this level of resolution. If any gas is given off by the combustion process, and I am certain gas will be given off by the combustion process, it will be given off in separate molecules. That is the definition of a gas, a bunch of molecules buzzing around freely in the atmosphere. Consequently, I rather suspect there will be quite a lot of nanoparticles going up the incinerator chimney. Some of these particles will be poisonous, some of them will be carcinogenic. Covanta will not be able to monitor or control these particles and no-one will have any idea where they might land or in whose lungs and bloodstream they might end up in.
I also mentioned that Covanta has been sued in the United States of Americafor emitting excessive levels of a carcinogen. For example, here is a link to a report in the New Haven Herald, for 24 August 2010, i.e. less than six months ago: http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2010/08/24/business/cc1_convanta0819082410.txt.
As you can see from that report, on the date the report was written Covanta was in the process of being sued by State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for emitting excessive levels of a carcinogen for the second time in three years.
There are other matters to consider too. For example: Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries, wishes to develope central Bedfordshire as a centre for tourism, bringing a large number of jobs to the county in the process. There are already lots of reasons for this tourism. There is the wonderful wetlands centre and forestry centre at Stewartby. There is the ancient forest of Marsden Vale. There is the sailing club, large sections of whose property, Covanta wish to compulsory purchase. There are the wonderful views over the Stewartby valley from the hill in Ampthill Park. There are lots of wonderful reasons why tourism could be brought to Bedfordshire and in addition we have the proposed Centre-Parcs scheme. However, if Covanta are allowed to go ahead, this potential tourist industry will be dead in the water. What tourist is going to want to go to the sailing club, the wetlands centre, Centre-Parcs, the forest of Marsden Vale or Ampthill Park, to look at some Dark Satanic Mill (to quote William Blake’s Jerusalem) sitting like a dark cloud in the middle of the landscape? What tourist is going to want to go to Bedfordshire to breath in dioxins and other carcinogenic compounds released from the Incinerator? I would venture to suggest that the answer is “None whatsoever!”
Finally: I promised you I would prove my assertion that the amount of power to be produced by the incinerator will be little more than the solar power (i.e. sunshine) falling on half a square kilometre of land. Here is my proof.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) have defined sunshine duration during a given period as the sum of that sub-period for which the direct solar irradiance exceeds 120 Watts per square metre. Once again, please do not take my word for this. Please view the relevant page on the WMO website. You can find it at web address: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/IMOP/publications/CIMO-Guide/CIMO%20Guide%207th%20Edition,%202008/Part%20I/Chapter%208.pdf:
A square kilometre occupies an area of 1000 metres by 1000 metres, or 1 million square metres. Therefore, the amount of solar energy falling on a square kilometre, when the sun shines, is 1 million times 120 Watts, which is 120 Megawatts. As you can clearly see, this is very nearly twice the power output of the Covanta Incinerator at 65 Megawatts, so QED.