XR blockades Viridor incinerator site in Cardiff

Photo credit: Tom Richards

Early this morning, rebels blockaded the Viridor incinerator site at Trident Park, highlighting the injustice of plans to build a second incinerator in Cardiff.

Plans for the £150 million energy plant, which would be based in Newlands Road in the east of the city, have been criticised by Cardiff MPs, including Anna McMorrin, Jo Stevens and Stephen Doughty.

Hundreds of residents within the CF3 postcode area of the city, including Llanrumney, Rumney, Tremorfa, St Mellons and Trowbridge, have been campaigning against plans for the new incinerator since September 2019.

Catherine McArthur, one of the residents who is opposing the plans said:

“This incinerator will be situated just 700 metres from Eastern High School where my children go to school and we are outraged – what chance do they have? The school already has almost half the attendees eligible for free school meals which is more than twice the National average.

“Cardiff East is becoming a dumping ground for everyone else’s rubbish. The World Health Organisation advises that incinerators should not be built in residential areas, let alone next to a school. It is scandalous for Cogen to disregard the health of Wales’s future generations and it’s hypocritical of the Welsh Assembly to even consider this application as it places them in breach of their own Future Generations Act, as well as any aspirations they have to move towards a zero waste, circular economy.

“What future is there if your postcode automatically puts you at risk by the air you breathe?”

In January this year, a Birmingham University study found that air quality in Cardiff is worse than in London and relative to size, Cardiff is ranked the fourth-worse in the UK, while London comes in at 75th.

Melissa Carrington, an environmental consultant from Christchurch said:

Building more incinerators based upon a “waste to energy” model does not support the transition to a low carbon economy but it provides an economic use for waste, which helps to keep the public hooked on over-consumption.

Waste to energy plants are effectively fossil fuel power stations as they rely on burning plastic waste, in fact, they can produce 2 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of plastic burned.

To add insult to injury, these incinerators are often cited in deprived areas, which are then impacted by large rises in the number of large vehicles travelling to and from the site, causing increases in air pollution.

Later today, XR Cymru will be showcasing the Citizens’ Assembly as a key pillar of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill and has invited MPs from the Cardiff area to attend a talk on Citizen’s Assemblies.

Two sessions will be held in Bute Gardens at 3:30pm and 4:15pm. The talks will explain the concept behind citizens’ assemblies and how they can be used to address issues that politics as usual have been unable to solve. 

A Citizens’ Assembly will allow ordinary people to investigate, discuss and make recommendations on how to respond to the climate and ecological emergency even if it means making sacrifices in the short term. The process is informed and democratic which helps to provide political cover for difficult decisions.

Establishing a Citizens’ Assembly on the Climate and Ecological emergency has been a core demand of Extinction Rebellion since the start, but it has now been written into the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill as a key mechanism for achieving the Bill’s aims.

If the CEE Bill is made law, the Government would have to act fast by developing a serious plan to deal with the UK’s fair share of emissions and to halt critical rises in global temperatures.

COVID-19 and public safety

All of XR Bristol’s actions are designed to be inclusive, safe and family-friendly, with the movement taking every precaution to ensure the protests adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

All supporters have been asked to come with masks and hand sanitiser, and to observe social distancing at all times. There will also be on-site sanitation stations, extra face masks available, and markings for safe distancing in the main stage area. All gatherings will take place outdoors with safety stewards onsite to support and promote COVID-safety around the clock.

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