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Waste debate sees rubbish pile up

30 July 09 16:52 GMT

Alex South
BBC Guernsey

While Guernsey's politicians have been debating what to do with waste, the island's rubbish has been piling up.

In 1994, the States discovered that it was running out of landfill sites more quickly than expected and the search for an alternative waste solution started.

Four years later, it decided Mont Cuet would be the last landfill site on the island and that exporting Guernsey's waste was not an option.

An energy-from-waste plant was seen as the best way forward with an intended operational date of 2002.

Environmental assessment

But by 2002, the States had only just decided where to put it.

After a two-year environmental impact assessment, Longue Hougue in St Sampson was chosen to house the island's first incinerator.

In 2003, Lurgi UK was offered a contract to build a £72m facility that would deal with 70,000 tonnes of waste a year.

But a year later that contract was deferred after a requete [private member's bill] by Deputy Scott Ogier, who said the plant was too big for the island.

In 2005, after an independent panel agreed that the Lurgi contract should be terminated and a new search began, exporting the island's waste and a possible shared incinerator with Jersey was on the table.

But just a year later, in 2006, and just like in the late 1990s, shipping rubbish off island was seen as being non-sustainable and the idea was thrown out.

The States then put out to tender for another smaller energy-from-waste plant, taking two years to find the preferred tender, Suez.

The company unveiled it new plans for Longue Hougue, costing £93m and which would be built to deal with 45,000 tonnes of rubbish annually.

Exporting waste was brought up again for the third time in 15 years a week before the States debate.

But the States had now, finally, decided to go ahead with the plans and Guernsey will have a waste-to-energy plant by 2012.

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