Proposals for four waste incinerators in the Greater Sydney region will face parliamentary scrutiny following Independent MP Justin Field moving to introduce legislation in the NSW Legislative Council to prohibit the construction of toxic waste incinerators in urban environments.
Independent NSW MP Justin Field gave notice of the “Environmental Planning Assessment Amendment (Waste Incinerator Facilities - Residential Exclusion Zones) Bill 2020” in the Legislative Council on Tuesday and will seek to debate the legislation once the Parliament returns to normal sittings early in June. [See Item 500 of Notice Paper p2166 - Text of Notice is included below]
The bill will seek to prohibit the construction of waste incinerators in urban areas with the bill’s details to be drafted in consultation with local communities concerned about the potential health impacts of mixed waste incinerators.
There are currently four proposals for major waste incineration projects in the Greater Sydney and Blue Mountains region including at Eastern Creek, Blacktown, Matraville and Lithgow. [See background about the projects below]
Independent NSW MP Justin Field said, “The European Union is moving away from burning rubbish for energy because of the health risks from toxic emissions. We should set clear legislated parameters around these projects to ensure the community’s health is not put at risk.
“Public health was an overriding consideration when the Independent Planning Commission rejected the The Next Generation waste incinerator proposal at Eastern Creek in 2018.
“I’m also concerned a move to burning rubbish will undermine the recycling and reuse sector.
“Anyone pretending that waste incineration is green or renewable energy is ignoring the massive environmental impacts of these projects.
The Next Generation project is currently subject to an appeal by the proponents in the Land and Environment Court.
Melinda Wilson of the Western Sydney Direct Action group said, “There is no place for burning rubbish near homes and schools and childcare centres.
“The Western Sydney community stood up against The Next Generation proposal and are deeply concerned that the company is appealing the sensible decision of the Independent Planning Commission to reject the proposal. We intend to work with other impacted communities in the Eastern Suburbs and Lithgow areas to mount a strong public campaign against these new proposals.
“Our communities are currently being hit by the Covid-19 health crisis and now we face the risk of a long-term future health crisis from toxic waste incinerators near our homes and schools.
“We’re glad to see this bill introduced to the Parliament and are calling on all political parties to support the health of communities and to ensure no one is exposed to polluting waste incinerators.
Text of Bill Notice of Motion
Background on waste incinerator proposals in the Greater Sydney Region
The Next Generation
Proponent: The Next Generation Pty Ltd
Location of Project: Eastern Creek
Size of project: 69 MW
Volume of waste that would be consumed: 552,500 T
Source of waste: Residual waste
Status: The Next Generation Proposal was refused by the IPC in July 2018. The proponent has appealed the planning decision to the Land and Environment Court. The matter was initially scheduled for 28 April 2020 but has been deferred until 2 October 2020 due to the social distancing measures.
Western Sydney Energy and Resource Recovery Centre
Proponents: Cleanaway and Macquarie Group
Location of Project: Blacktown
Size of project: 45 MW
Volume of waste that would be consumed: 500,000 T
Source of waste: Residual municipal solid waste and residual commercial and industrial waste
Status: Preparation of EIS
Proponents: Energy Australia
Location of Project: Lithgow
Size of project: 60 MW
Volume of waste that would be consumed: 100,000 T
Source of waste: RDF is derived from municipal and other waste and consists of a mixture of non-recyclable materials such as dirty paper, plastics, fabrics and organic matter. About one-third of RDF is comprised of biomass material
Status: Response to submissions
Proponent: SUEZ in partnership with Orora Botany recycled paper mill
Location of Project: Botany Industrial Area
Size of Project: 7.2 MW
Volume/Source of Waste: 130,000 T from SUEZ PEF Production Plant at Chullora & 35,000 T Orora Recycled Paper Mill
Status: Preparing EIS