‘Ill thought-through waste strategy based on misinformation’

THE revised waste strategy is ‘ill thought-through, misguided and expensive’, according to a long-term critic of the island’s moves to export its refuse.

Pic by Adrian Miller 15-03-16Royal CourtsStates meetingTony SpruceEducation

Former deputy and Public Services Department board member Tony Spruce has called on members to support Peter Roffey’s amendment which is seeking a review of moving to an on-island waste disposal solution in the long term.

‘There is absolutely no need to vote lemming-like for an ill thought-through, misguided and expensive waste export strategy,’ writes Mr Spruce in an open letter.

He said that the plans offer no long-term disposal contract or price guarantees.

In his view the States vote in 2010 to overturn a decision for a waste-to-energy incinerator ‘was based on inaccurate costings, misinformation and unachievable recycling targets’.

On retiring from the States he said he had not intended to ‘publicly inflict my opinion of the proposed waste strategy on the public ever again,’ but he felt it important that all new States members be made aware of the history and background to the issue.

He writes that after the 2012 decision and up to last year, two Public Services ministers ‘consistently avoided providing the States Assembly with accurate facts even when under detailed questioning from myself and other deputies’.

Comments for: "‘Ill thought-through waste strategy based on misinformation’"


What a surprise.

This is becoming another shambles & to be honest very confusing.

Unless they put a charge on people's TRP or bring in a waste tax this will lead to some very serious fly tipping and filling of island bins.

I don't think they have any idea of the long term cost.

Technology is changing so fast why rush in with hair brain schemes.

Devil's Advocate

"Technology is changing so fast why rush in with hair brain schemes."

...and that is why a local solution isn't a good idea - we could end up with a local treatment plant that gets superseded by new technology in a few years' time.

Donkey Boiler

Refuse rate is already charged on TRP, which is nonsensical. It is not based on ability to pay, total income of persons in a property, the number of persons living in a house, the amount of refuse generated, or any other factor that might be relevant, just the footprint of the building. An elderly pensioner living in their old family home struggling to make ends meet will pay more than a family of four or five, all working, who happen to live in a house that has a smaller footprint.

Trevor Hockey

Donkey Boiler

We put out a black bag less than half full, you can pick it up your little finger and yet because we have a high TRP we pay a fortune.

100% Donkey

If Tony Spruce has anything to say about waste, he should have done it more effectively when he was a deputy !!

What we do not need is more procrastination on this issue. The proposed solution does not need to be the final solution, but for God's sake do something and give it a go !!

Devil's Advocate

Spot on - the proposed solution is the only realistic option with the timescale we have, allows for alternative options after 3 years and doesn't saddle us with a locally-based solution that could well be superseded by emerging technology.

Rocquaine Pirate

If Guernsey had thought like you in the past we would still be using paraffin lamps, and walking everywhere.

We should have had an incinerator and not had to ship waste off island, we have had enough bull**** now please get on with it.

guern abroad

What with a incinerator way over the size needed and running hungry and inefficient and very expensive, oh wait that sounds like Jersey!


100% Donkey

This ex Deputy was of little use and all I remember him for was his obstructive attitude toward's local busiesses

Can anyone remember what this man achieved during his time as one of our representatives


I beleive he had more of a destructive attitude towards locally run bossiness.

As said, if we had gone for any of the two incinerators proposers it, they would;d have been far too big and costly to run with diesel at times.

One of the best proposals which I agreed with and was not even coincided by the states, was from the Peoples Panel with John Langlois at the helm. It said a small modual incinerator which could be added to, recycling and in a quarry for some infill.

When you read the articles from Peter Gilson, Peter Roffey and Tony Spruce, no mention of 45% ash with 15% of it toxic ash after each burn. Also they have mentioned an incinerator as a permanent solution producing electric.

Not completely right when they last about 25 years and with new flus at 15 million a time and as in the Isle Of Mann's not producing as much power as forecast.

I do beleive Peter Roffeys amendment is right as we shoild not be lemmings but donkeys. I can not blame the present committee but previous ones with Scott Ogier and Paul Luxon in charge seemed to have been economical with the truth.

The problem is States Departments do not produce a good business plan, they exclude facts that do not suit the case they want.

If we throw this out as i beleive should be done, worse cinario is Mont Cuet could be landfilled up to 2020 and why not empty the Torri Canyon quarry to use until we find a solution that is for the benefit of Guernsey.

Rocquaine Pirate

I was under the impression that the oil filled quarry at chouet was to be used by Ronez as the next place to extract stone, I am not sure if this is correct.

With regards to the incinerator surely Guernsey could install one of the correct size, (this is not the USA where every thing has to be bigger), it is time our States come down to earth and realise we are not a major world power.

I have also been informed that concrete made for immersion in salt water needs a certain amount is ash in it, well our sea defenses need work, and we need a new quay so as tankers do not have to dry out, we therefore have uses for quite a a bit of ash.

I just get the feeling that our States talk a lot but have no common sense.


There is not much stone and it is cheaper to import from their other quarries.

Jersey have stored there ash and have problems with it leaching into the sea. France has stopped using it in the tarmac for its roads and now put it into disused quarries. Joke is do not need lights as roiads glows at night.

I agree we need the right size incinerator but also need an old quarry to fill.

The trouble is how have we come to the situation we have now Because the states have allowed the Waste management to miss manage and questions have not been answered. Also a lot of the facts and figures have not been checked or audited.

Rocquaine Pirate

Totally agree, it is about time the Stares woke up.

guern abroad

A whole term lost through fighting this very person for just wanting a massive oversized incinerator and the same term did not take up the freely offered complete solution from Mr Brouard which would have dealt with a fair amount of waste generated.

Burning it is not the answer however pretty it might look. I only supported off island as it was temporary arrangement and allowed for movement to better solutions. Jersey do appear to be in a mess with their incinerator and ash waste generation.

Devil's Advocate

Ah, Mr Brouard's unproven solution. Well, ten years have passed, does his solution still exist?


Sorry for spelling but went though before spell check.

Bill Detats

The European Waste Shipment Regulation (EWSR) transposes the Basel Convention principles into EU law. It regulates the shipment of waste within, to and from the EU area with the aim of protecting the environment both within the EU and internationally.

Both the Regulations and Convention are likely to see important changes, well before Guernsey completes its first full year of very costly waste exports to Sweden. This is regardless of what the States has been told by HMG, because nothing is set in tablets of stone. From what I have heard and read elsewhere it seems very likely that we could end up in a situation where having spent around £33million on infrastructure, we won’t be able to export our rubbish to anywhere. This costly infrastructure would then instantly become another very costly, useless white elephant.

It seems that the squandering of vast amounts of money on the proposals to be debated at our next meeting, are ridiculous in the extreme. We have no real alternative at this eleventh hour, but to find another hole or some very temporary storage arrangement, in order to buy enough time for the installation of a new, modern, combined recycling and waste to energy incineration plant.

We have already seen the estimate for ‘black bag charges’ increase by around 300% with tip charges increasing by 10%-11% annually, so how can the public and their representatives be expected to believe that the projected, eye watering figure of £300million will not be exceeded and that’s assuming that we will be allowed to export our rubbish. With such scant and flawed information the accuracy of the ‘guesstimated’ costings of what is being proposed are highly questionable and far more questions are unanswered, than answered.

As most readers will observe, I have not even mentioned the other elephant sitting in the corner of the room i.e., BREXIT. Nobody can predict what the effects of this will be and how it will impinge on the dealings of EU member states with countries outside the clutches of Bruxelles.


Very good points.

This is why we should have an on island solution and be in control.


@ Bill Detats

An excellent post.

This whole sorry saga is like watching a train crash in slow motion.

Millions have been wasted over the years on this so called 'waste strategy'. I dread to think how many man hours have also been completely wasted.

I said years and years ago that Les Vardes would buy more time.

It is the only realistic option left despite protestations from the 'mentalists'.

Banned again!

Bill Detats is just the type of person we need running this island instead of the likes of St Pier & Brehaut that are determined to bankrupt us within a generation.

Don Tramp

Recycling has to be at the forefront of this.


It is of course essential that we do not cooperate with Jersey. A joint strategy using their over sized incinerator to mutual benefit would look like weakness.

The sheer lack of technical expertise on the island is gob smacking but that's what happens if all your senior staff are accountants who can't look beyond this weeks bill.

Before we spend huge amounts on recycling, it would be useful to know the real figures on how much we can actually recycle. I get the impression that transport costs and environmental impact vastly outweigh the intended benefits, sadly. No use pretending to be green if the boat taking the waste belches out even more carbon dioxide.


There is plenty of on island expertise in this field, in fact there is a private recycling organisation that export waste off island with good success thus far.

The states cannot delay this any further, a proper long term solution is needed and it's needed now, just not landfill!

Island Wide Voting

How 'long term' do you need it to be?

Les Vardes would accommodate our black sacks for the next 150 years using modern landfill methods which means that your great great grandson could have a chance of being the site manager


A 50 year scheme at least would be ideal, as you say les vardes has 150 years at least, but then what? Back to square one? Don't get me wrong technology would have progressed again.

Unfortunately recycling costs money for no gain other than well being because you saved a polar bear, however we cannot continue burying rubbish like we do, there are many better solutions out there but they all cost money!

Devil's Advocate

Recycling isn't just about saving polar bears, it's about not wasting the world's finite resources. Plastic is made from oil, and although it's currently more expensive to recycle because oil is cheap, it won't stay like that forever and it's much harder/more expensive to make plastic from other sources. The economic model of capitalism relies on unlimited resources.....which we don't have.

As to the environmental friendliness of export - the boats are going back to the UK empty anyway, the island is a net importer of goods.

Trevor Hockey

So ,we fill in Les Vardes and when the new technologies come along which make money out of rubbish we just dig it out again.

Island Wide Voting

I heard on the radio phone in that Lindsay de Sausmarez will take the lead speaker role in presenting the case in the Assembly

Is Baz not up to the job? Is Baz quite rightly worried that the figures might not be believed if it's him presenting them?

As long as the Assembly realise that they are listening to the same figures,and treats them with with all due caution, no matter who is presenting them

As long as the Assembly remembers that every figure they have been given over several years of this farce has been shown to be a tissue of lies (the Parliamentary gentlemanly term is dissembling) or at the very kindest rotten schoolboy guesswork

Island Wide Voting

For a glimpse of how our pretty 'Visit Guernsey' roads and lanes will end up cluttered with all sizes and shapes of coloured plastic bins if the Assembly gullibles vote this through, look no further than what has happened in the UK

A dozen or so 'delightful' street scene photos are available if you Google .. Not in my front yard. Daily Mail

Island Wide Voting

....and for a glimpse of what happens when you make the rules too onerous or too costly for a large percentage of the general public to bear, which the Assembly gullibles seem likely to do tomorrow, look no further than the fourteen delightful UK country scene photos available by Googling .......

Daily Mail.How Britain is being blighted by fly tipping

Bloke A

Yup good old Daily Mail. Good enough for this forum but even Wikipedia - and I do mean even Wikipedia - has banned that as a source (unless exceptional circumstances.

What was it they said? "Generally unreliable" (or perhaps in parliamentary speak, dissembling)

Says it all really.

Island Wide Voting

OK cleverclogs. Perhaps you could enlighten us all on what Wiki has to say about the fly tipping photos on the following publications





Election Issues

Ex Deputy Spruce also said in his letter -

'The waste strategy resolutions agreed by the Assembly back in 2012 bear no relationship to the proposals before the Assembly now'

'After five years of planning we now have recommendations that involve the export of only 50% of the Islands residual waste. This waste will quite unbelievably be shrink wrapped in plastic and shipped to Sweden for incineration on the recommendation of the very same people who argued incineration was morally wrong'

'The latest capital expenditure cost for baling plant and infrastructure is circa £36million. There will be no dry recyclable material recovery facility (this is now contracted out to a third party)'


'During the upcoming waste strategy debate I expect some States members will argue that it is too late to change course now.

It will be argued that Mont Cuet's waste capacity is running out and that we are where we are with no other option available.

However, only two years ago the then PSD Minister Deputy Ogier was saying we had six years tip life capacity available'

The SoG have claimed that the Geminor bid was the cheapest and the most 'energy efficient' due to its proposal to use a plant producing electricity and providing district heat.

So Guernsey will export refuse derived fuel to Sweden and plans to build a waste facility to process up to 26,000 tonnes of residual waste a year and generate between 20,000 - 25,000 tonnes of processed waste to be exported each year.

Is this really a cost effective solution?

Will the operational costs rise significantly?

Capital costs are 'around' £33 million. The operational costs are up £42.6 from 2014 to 'about' £266.2 million.

Kerbside recycling costs? How many millions? Value for money?

Operational costs? Value for money?

Please can we have the true cost and the hard facts, not half truths that are shrouded with the words 'commercially sensitive'. We all have a right to know.


Having done listen again to the Sunday phone in, Lindsay de Saumarez said she doesn't know who's been checking over the waste contract - assumes someone higher up the chain has done it apparently. It obviously isn't her so how can she present to the States on waste when she hasn't even personally made sure the contract has all of the required clauses in it? - you know, to cover all of our options and include appropriate recourse action if needed. What's the possibility of all of those "higher up" assuming someone else has checked over the contract and in actual fact no-one has gone over it to the nth degree like we need them to? It's no good bleating about it after the event as usual - it's like groundhog day.

I suspect Barry isn't presenting because he thinks they may think more kindly of LdS.

As for the item in the GP today about how the public waste drop-in wasn't well attended, has anyone actually considered that people don't go because they find BB and CP unapproachable, argumentative, and won't properly consider anyone else's viewpoint? Remarks on social media don't help and just paying lip service face to face is insulting. Most people won't go to them as they know it's completely and utterly pointless.

Banned again!

"It's no good bleating about it after the event as usual"...... reminds me of that foolish £300m+ bond that was all the rage before peeps woke up.


Yes. Funny that...

Major Denis Bloodnok

But the people who brought you that fiasco are still in place and champing at the bit to cock up again - Lagan followed up by Bond (not James Bond sadly).

Another box office success is sure to be on the way which will hit everyone in the pocket - big time

Election Issues

'Another box office success is sure to be on the way which will hit everyone in the pocket - big time'

Of course! That's what this government is all about!

The issuing of a £330 million bond and.......The Waste Strategy.

No other Government .....especially a responsible and an accountable government in charge of such a small island community would even consider such a thing surely??

Banned again!

And of course there remains the out of control bloated civil service, making up new £145k posts at a whim, as they blunder their way through unaccountable mistakes , many of which are kept out of sight of their paymasters, namely the long suffering taxpayer.

Common sense

De Saumarez presenting speaks volumes about BB standing with the public and the other deputies, it is quite clear that any costs related to projects from his department cannot be trusted e.g. Salarie corner.

As long as you have environmentalists in charge of the Environment Department you will have an environmentalist strategy and not an environmental one, those in charge should have an interest but remain impartial during decision making. This project at present if the loan is used will cost over £60,000,000 and will increase each e.g. The same as the bus subsidy, road side recycling will cost more each year.

The strategy needs to be rejected in its entirety and sent back to the drawing board and a solution found that is fit for purpose by which I mean is practical, cost effective and inline with the public's wishes.

The vote will have a direct impact on parish rates the deputies need to consider this as it will have a factor at the next election as every parish bill will be a reminder.

100% Donkey

How many times will those on here go on about landfill - it is literally dead and buried !! Apparently the effects of leachate from Mont Cuet are already affecting the water quality in Chouet & Ladies bays.

I'm not saying for one second exporting waste is either perfect or the long term answer. What I am saying is that this Island's government have pi**ed around for long enough, only to start talking about it again.

If everybody focused on producing less, we would have less of a problem. In the meantime let's use the next three years somewhat more constructively than we have used the last decade, and come up with a long term solution that makes commercial and environmental sense !!

Trevor Hockey

100% Donkey

Water quality probably more to do with seagull guano than leachate.


Well said, and what is the recycling motto, the three R's reduce, reuse, recycle! Therefore a reduction in waste at the consumer end will result in less waste going wherever!

I for one don't want landfill, it's archaic at best (isn't this 2017?) and stinks to high heaven, I say let someone else who actually wants it deal with it!

Trevor Hockey

Absolutely bonkers that tetra packs are sent for recycling, recycling target have to go, surely better to incinerate and create energy from waste. Peter Gillson stated in the Press that expanded polystyrene cost £5,000 a ton to recycle and around £200 to burn.

Scrap recycling targets to save money, re-instate the bring banks, which industry sources tell me gets a far cleaner recyclable product, scrap kerbside collections.


I suspect few are in possession of good data. A trawl through European incinerator data firstly reveals many energy for waste systems have been over sold especially Germany and Holland (Jersey and nearly Guernsey) and operators are begging for waste!

Finding good data on reliability hits the - commercially sensitive- nerve. I am far from convinced that they reach much more than 50% availability.

The waste ash seems to be up to 25% of the original mass, and far more nasty than the original.

My feeling continues to be that several small approaches are required. One or two small, cheap incinerators, a bit more modern landfil, a bit of waste to Jersey so that we can feel good about sending them our ----.

Finally, I know the hole is nearly full, but I'd quite like a ski slope overlooking Pembroke.


We wouldn't be in this mess if the original incinerator had been of a small size rather than the massive monstrosity they originally proposed and rejected.

So go back to the manufacturers and find an incinerator that is just big enough, given the recycling targets and get on with it.

Or if you are not capable of doing that put it out to commercial tender, and let someone else do it more efficiently and cheaper!

Yet another states assembly that at election time promised great things, but have turned into a dithering bunch of incompetents.

Major Denis Bloodnok

Banned again! - at least Mr Whitfield has managed to secure the services of the tallest waste of money. Deputy Ferbrache and most of the States employees don't seem to think he's that great though

Banned again!

Deputy Ferbrache? Oh you mean the one who was elected to look after the people he is supposed to represent & yet he finds time to setup a new law firm? Reminds me of Luxon who also spent his time enhancing his own career while supposedly looking after his constituents. Its little wonder the level of contempt directed at this bunch of self serving individuals.


Deputy Barry Brehaut.

Why are the UK local councils preferring to fly tip their own rubbish instead of sending it to Sweden?

The answer is in your own back trouser pocket.

Time you woke up to facts and quietly close the incinerator door behind you.

Time you looked back to days when your nappy was washed by hand and hung out to dry instead of putting the remains in a hole and buried.


Do people honestly believe that having another landfill on island will be cheaper than exporting RDF bales?

Who sets the gate fees for the tip? Oh yes the states, and they can (and already do) charge whatever they want and can also increase costs as they see fit!

Whilst the same could be said for export, there are hundreds of facilities all over Europe that specialise in waste from energy and they would be more than happy to take our waste!

Election Issues

Standard rate at Mont Cuet landfill for 2017 will be £211.83 per tonne of waste, up by £20.30 (10.5%) on £191.53 in 2016.

The reason the cost is so high is because 'they' want to reduce the amount going to landfill and also because 'they' are trying to fund the new waste strategy!

How much will it cost to prepare RDF from waste to cover sorting, baling and wrapping at the brand new waste facility in Guernsey?

What will be the gate fees for the RDF when it reaches Jonkoping plant in Sweden? These gate fees depend on factors such as contract duration, spot prices, quality and calorific value.

Last year, the Swedish government launched a year long review into whether the country should introduce a tax on waste incineration. Any such proposed tax could have a huge impact on costs. Another element of the review will consider whether a charge levied on production of nitric oxide can be made more effective and economically efficient.

Any country can increase costs and gate fees. As the UK withdraws from EU there could be restrictions and tariffs placed on exports which could limit he trade in waste derived fuels from UK to Europe.


It costs less apparently to sort, bale and ship from here to Europe than it does to send it landfill with the current states fees!

The problem is if they go for another landfill setup then they can charge whatever they want as they will be holding the island to ransom.

Island Wide Voting

It looks like Baz is determined to hold the island to ransom anyway with section 6 of his waste strategy proposals

6. If any of the costs of the Solid Waste Strategy exceed those indicated in the Policy Letter, to delegate authority to the Policy & Resources Committee to approve revisions to the relevant estimated capital and operational costs.

Deputies,PLEASE do not embolden this man with even the slightest indication that he can continue to follow his 'It'll cost what it costs" greenie mantra without having to face the full Assembly



Good morning IWV

Well spotted.

However, even though Dep's may well throw out Section 6 the wording does specify that P&R would have the last say regarding approval / non-approval.

Any decision to approve revisions would be theirs and I do not think that the appetite for SWS cost increases would be there.

Unless Dep BB was head of P&R - now, there's a thought.

Island Wide Voting

Whilst I agree that Section 6 would not give Baz a blank cheque I would not like Envo to have the ability to go behind the scenes to P & R and quietly wheedle a few more hundred thousands out of that four person Committee on the quiet

If after all the hundreds / thousands of CS man hours spent on producing the multi million pound Billet Report for the Assembly to vote on today is subsequently found to still be inadequate / incorrect I would like to see that debated in public by the whole Assembly