PORTLAND Professor Tony Walter, from Fortuneswell, is asking for reassurance that a waste incinerator proposed for the island will not undermine the county’s waste recycling efforts.

He says that there is evidence, from across the UK, that using an incinerator can reduce recycling rates.

Although an incinerator has been proposed a decision on whether or not to agree it has yet to be made by Dorset Council.

In a letter to Dorset Council Professor Walter says that while some experts argue there is some logic to generating energy from the waste that we cannot recycle, or reuse, it is meant to be the last resort.

He has asked for a question to be put to next Tuesday’s Dorset Council meeting in Dorchester. In it he points out that the county’s waste strategy is to consider waste reduction first, then reuse and recycling, then recovery of materials or energy, and only then to consider disposal.

Professor Walter says that since the strategy was published in 2009 evidence has shown that incinerator use elsewhere is reducing recycling rates.

“In her recent report A Burning Problem: How Incineration is Stopping Recycling, Baroness Jenny Jones writes: ‘There is a logic to generating energy from the waste that we cannot recycle, or reuse, but it is meant to be the last resort. What we have created instead is a market driven system of incinerators which constantly need to be fed. Many councils have signed up to long term contracts with incinerators and my research shows that these have some of the worst recycling rates in the country. In fact, many of these councils have gone backwards and recycle proportionately less than they did six years ago’” said Professor Walter in a preamble to his question.

He also quotes Prof Ian Boyd, DEFRA’s chief scientific adviser, who, he says, has similar concerns.

He is asking the council if it and the Dorset Waste Partnership still see energy from burning waste as its preferred option for treating residual waste and, if so, how would Dorset Council ensure that an incinerator on Portland would not undermine Dorset’s good record of recycling.

It will not be known until Tuesday whether or not the Council will accept the question. Many have been ruled out by the authority over the past year for a variety of reasons.