Let’s challenge Birmingham City Council to stop burning 75% of the waste that they collect from households and businesses.
Tyseley Incinerator is where Birmingham’s general waste is currently burned – the plant is the biggest single source of carbon dioxide emissions in the city. The contract for this rubbish burning will soon be running out, but there is a possibility that it will be extended until 2034 – which would not be compatible with the council’s aim for net-zero carbon by 2030.
Channel 4 recently aired a Dispatches documentary The Dirty Truth about your Rubbish looking at the problems of incineration and the contracts that councils can get locked into. The doc is available to stream until 7th April 2021.
The UK Without Incineration Network is asking people to contact government ministers, calling on them to block any new incinerators, and shift away from burning rubbish to recycling. They have a template letter that you can personalise and sign.
Our local petition was presented to Birmingham City Council in December by a cross-party group of councillors, and we are continuing to hold discussions with them. If you live or work in Birmingham, you can still add weight to the petition by signing it.
On 21st September, a group of 6 people walked from Birmingham City Centre to Tyseley Incinerator, with a second group of 6 making the reverse journey. Although coronavirus restrictions limited the number who could participate, each person represented the many members of a community organisation concerned about the incinerator: Peace Hub, Jai Jagat 2020 UK, Climate Action Network West Midlands, Footsteps and Birmingham Friends of the Earth.
You can catch up with what happened, and what the campaign is all about in this video:
One walking group met with BCC Councillor Rob Pocock for an hour, outside Birmingham City Council House and had an informative dialogue to exchange points of view. We were encouraged to find out that a cross-party working group has been brought together to focus on this issue. Councillor Liz Clements invited representatives from the walking group to attend the Zoom Scrutiny Committee meeting on 30th September.
As Birmingham Friends of the Earth state “there is now a great opportunity to rethink, pivot and escape from the trap of the existing ‘collect to burn’ model of waste.”
Photos – top: group of 6 walkers near Tyseley Incinerator by Brian Sheridan; middle: group of 4 walkers outside Peace Hub by Ginnie Wollaston.