Campaigners fighting plans to burn toxic waste liquids at a cement works last night pledged to take their battle all the way to the European courts, after they lost their bid to stop the trial. Lafarge will begin in July a six-month trial of burning recycled liquid fuels, or RLFs, at its Westbury works.
Lafarge won permission for the trial from the Environment Agency despite hostile opposition from environmentalists and local campaigners, who ran a vociferous campaign against the idea (reports The Western Mail).
RLFs include everything from nail varnish remover and paint stripper to photograph developing fluid and other used liquid chemicals. Friends of the Earth and local group The Air That We Breathe claim RLFs could be harmful to health, and have cried foul over what they see as a lack of filters on the plant’s towering chimney. Last year, the campaigners staged a mass balloon launch from close to the Westbury plant, to show how far emissions will be carried by the wind.
A company spokesman said that RLF, which is burned in several other countries and at Lafarge’s plant in Dunbar, Scotland, is a high-grade blended fuel made from ’non-recoverable’ materials used in making everyday products. "The fuel is blended to a strict specification set by the regulator the works. The content of RLF used at Lafarge Cement works is monitored at every stage of its journey from the fuel blender to the factory.
"Using alternative fuels brings two major environmental benefits. It reduces environmental emissions - for example, using tyre chips to replace some of the coal and coke at Cauldon Works in Staffordshire reduced emissions of oxides of nitrogen by around 20 per cent. And it makes use of products destined for landfill sites. For example, by using tyres and RLFs, we recover energy from products that would otherwise just be thrown away."