A new port of call for rubbish debate

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From Nick Manley.

NOW is the time for some joined up thinking on both sewage and rubbish disposal.

My suggestion has me looking across to the Cherbourg Peninsula where there is no shortage of space and third-grade agricultural or ex-industrial land. What better opportunity for a co-operative, multi-national effort?

Firstly, the new incinerator should be placed on hold and we should approach a port on the French coast – preferably one that lacks on-going viable commercial business – in a region that may also wish to update its sewage and rubbish disposal facilities. We should also involve the other Channel Islands, should they wish to participate.

Instead of the incinerator at La Collette, which we would resite in France, we should build a large, low-level covered rubbish sorting shed and a dock for New York-style garbage vessels.

Rubbish would then be pre-sorted and shipped from the Island, by covered garbage vessels, to the French port, where we co-operate to build a jointly funded incinerator, recycling unit and a new sewage disposal plant on land that they specify. They have plenty to choose from. The French in the area would also be connected into the system.

We then build a large pipe from Bellozanne across to France and connect it up to the new sewage plant. Guernsey and the other Channel Islands, with the possible exception of Alderney’s sewage system, could also be involved should they so wish.

The advantages are:

• Local jobs all round.

• New jobs (crewing the garbage vessels and sorting the rubbish, etc).

• The rubbish ends up in France, where recycled stuff can be easily sold on and transported by road and rail Europe-wide. This would apply to the French area’s rubbish as well.

• Bellozanne can be closed down and rehabilitated.

• The by-product of the sewage plant has direct access by road and rail to European agricultural nations.

• Capital costs can be shared.

• French port gets new lease of life.

• No more raw sewage outflow in St Aubin’s Bay.

Just in case anyone should start worrying that French sensibilities about their environment would be offended, all this would be state of the art stuff and I would point out that the nuclear waste dump further up the coast would appear to represent more of an environmental threat than this proposal.

No doubt someone will dismiss this as all having been discussed and rejected in the past. If so, excellent. It would be good to know at least some alternatives to the current expensive and long-term environmentally disastrous scheme were discussed.

Oh, and before someone shoots down the above on the grounds of expense, as worked out in the 1970s, I would point out that as technology advances, costs can come down due to that development. What seemed expensive and impossible, with the technology available then, may be an entirely different situation now.

As for halting the current incinerator contract, I believe the current contractors are French? And if so, it would probably be most compliant to such a rethink if a larger scheme on the French mainland was the option!

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