Guernsey Press

Proposal to use Les Vardes for landfill does not go far enough

I wholeheartedly support Deputy Mark Helyar in his call for Les Vardes to be used as a landfill site, except that I do not believe he goes far enough.

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In 2011 I led a consortium which put forward a proven alternative for disposing of household waste with a very environment-friendly and much lower-cost solution than the one the then States selected. That opportunity is still there.

Household waste would continue to be pre-sorted at Longue Hougue but instead of the non-recyclable waste being exported to Sweden it would be put through an adjacent, anaerobic digester. Methane extracted from the waste would be used to remove the moisture content and create waste-derived fuel which could also generate heat on-site, or elsewhere.

The residue of the raw material would be reduced to about 15% of its original weight and being inert, would be baled and taken to Les Vardes to be buried alongside the waste from the construction industry.

Examples of the use of anaerobic digesters for this purpose are already operating, for example, at Uppsala in Sweden and at Ljubljana in Slovenia, both serving much larger populations than Guernsey and processing well in excess of 100,000 tons per annum.

The argument for keeping Les Vardes for possible future water storage has no reasoned basis. Guernsey was exceptionally fortunate that the quarries inherited from the 19th Century granite industry were ideal for the creation of the reservoirs required by the glasshouse industry. The water consumption of 1,500 acres of greenhouse, to produce nine million trays of tomatoes and other crops was enormous.

Therefore, the increased domestic consumption through higher standards of living and population growth have been and can be easily serviced.

I will leave it to others to calculate how much money the adoption of this system would save the States but it would be many millions of pounds in running costs and savings on capital expenditure.

This is not a suggestion that I put forward as a response to P&R’s request for cost-saving ideas last November, although I hope they might now consider it.

However, while I can understand that committees are taking time to evaluate them and decide on their merits, I am disappointed that the States has not made these suggestions publicly available.

It would be very easy to list them on the website and would be of great public interest.

Geoff Dorey

Ruette Des Effards, Castel, Guernsey, GY5 7DQ