Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s Press Release

For immediate release

Contact: Libby Harris, Birmingham Friends of the Earth, 01216326909,

Money to Burn

Birmingham Friends of the Earth welcomes the “calling in” of the decision of the Cabinet in December to extend by 5 years its contract with Veolia to dispose of waste, also to spend millions of pounds to upgrade the incinerator to allow 15 years more operation. The Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the City council met on 20 December and it agreed to investigate how the council had come to have “a gun to our heads” in the words of Chair Councillor Albert Bore. The next meeting will be held this Thursday (Note 1)

Libby Harris Campaigns Support Worker at Birmingham Friends of the Earth said:

We are very concerned that the Council is about to extend the life of the wasteful incinerator at Tyseley which will cost council taxpayers millions of pounds, well into the future”

The Scrutiny meeting was adjourned for a full investigation until 10th January 2019, due to the number of absentees and the seriousness with which members of the committee view “the abrogation of duty by officers and lack of political oversight” in the words of Councillor Bore (Note 3).

Birmingham Friends of the Earth believes that it is essential that the full facts about how this situation has arisen is brought into the public domain on 10th January. This will include looking back to the initial contract dating from July 1993, and the various council waste strategies which have evolved during the 25 year life of this contract, but not followed up. Looking forward, it is essential to ensure that the City Council treats the resources within its waste stream far more efficiently.

Latest government statistics show that Birmingham has a very low recycling rate of 21%, compared with Staffordshire 54% and Wales 63%, meaning that paper, plastic and food waste in huge amounts have to be burned at Tyesley every year. (Note 4).

Libby Harris continued

It is essential that light is shone on how this situation has arisen and that Birmingham no longer wastes the valuable resources that exist in the waste stream.”



Birmingham Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. We campaign on a range of issues including climate change, biodiversity, waste, transport and food. For further information visit

1. Resource Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting 10 January,

2. Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting 20 December,

3. Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting 20 December webcast,

4. ENV18 – Local authority collected waste: annual results tables,