I visited the incinerator once again. This time though I went in the facilities and had a chance to see what is going in there. I have been watching the chimney from my window for the past three years and never went so close. I went to the reception to ask permission for photographs. I got a number and an email address. I hope I will get permission before the deadline. If not, I will continue this project after I submit, where I will have spare time.
As the title of the post says, I did some research and found out that the Whitley Incinerator is serving the city of Coventry and the town of Solihull since 1975. Most of the rubbish produced in Coventry is burned and the rest is used as landfill. There has been a controversy over the current usage of the facilities and the new plans from City Council and Solihull.
According to the authorities a lot of the heat produced by burning the rubbish could be used in heating buildings. The project has been planned, proposed and already has a contractor for the job. Part of the controversy is who’s is getting what? Again according to the authorities, the “Heatline” project would deliver heat through underground pipes to the City Centre. Meaning that it will benefit the Council, Coventry University and the Cathedral, for starters. The energy produced by such procedures is considerably cheaper and in the long term could benefit the citizens of Coventry. For the time being, priority is given to the aforementioned entities and the commercial part of the city.
One more reason this project could be a disaster, argue the Friends of the Earth, is the amount of money it could cost to the taxpayer. They claim that the incinerator could cost more than it will be saving. Looking at the bigger picture, producing heat by burning trash is not a thing of the future, though the Council states that they don’t have the resources at the moment for high-tech waste management.
And let’s not forget the environmental impact. The plans to expand the facilities would see the end of the bio-diverse grassland around it and of course in order to make the project profitable, the incinerator would have to burn almost the double amount of tonnes per year.
From my point of view, this great deal of money, about 10 million, and the binding contract of 25 years could be devastating for the city. There are many dark and forgotten corners of this city. There are enough homeless people to attract the council’s attention, and many others who struggle to make a living. What is missing from Coventry is not cheaper heating but a sense of community and celebration of the commons. There I would invest that money.