Extreme Energy and The Haresfield Incinerator

The breathtaking landscape near Haresfield

The breathtaking landscape near Haresfield

‘Extreme Energy is a term used to describe a group of energy extraction methods that have emerged in recent years, as more usual methods of extracting fossil fuels fail to provide the amounts of energy that civilisation demands. Examples include Tar Sands, Mountain Top Removal, Deep Water Drilling, Coal Bed Methane and Shale Gas. Harmful energy sources that are not based on fossil fuels, such as agrofuels and a nuclear, are also sometimes considered part of the extreme energy sector.’ – Frack off, National campaign group.

Energy from waste incineration is a national plan by our government, and an extreme energy issue only made possible by a cycle involving extreme extractive technologies associated with increasingly intensive fossil fuel extraction (such as fracking, mountain top removal and tar sands), extreme consumption and extreme waste. It is becoming clear that the lengths corporations are willing to plunge to create energy (Or more precisely, money) are not just limited to extractive technologies. Along with a wave of new nuclear power stations and biofuel plants, our government plans a wave of energy from waste incinerators in communities across the country, requiring more rubbish and industrial waste than these communities can produce to feed them, requiring hundreds of truck loads of rubbish per day, and and belching out toxic, cancer causing chemicals into our communities, schools, farms and wild places. Science associates these incinerators with an significant increase in the incidence of childhood leukaemia for children living within 5 miles. Indeed, the dioxins produced by incineration are one of the most carcinogenetic chemicals known to science.

The Five Valleys has made it abundantly clear through objections to the planning process that we do not want incineration here. We do not give it our social licence. It remains to be seen whether central government will listen, and if fracking is anything to go by we will need to have a contingency plan if they don’t. Balcombe had over 900 objections and the authorities took 2 days to read them before giving Frackers Cuadrilla the green light to drill.

We believe our communities will not shirk their responsibility to protect the land and people we love. Frack free five valleys is campaigning against all extreme and damaging energy industries and will support communities in resisting the incineration threat and protecting the Five Valleys from being damaged by those who seek to sacrifice our health and our future for money.

National campaign group Frack Off say – ‘Extreme energy is part of the ecology of human interactions with the natural world and a definition that finds its basis in those interactions might be much more satisfactory. An alternative to extreme energy as a category is that of extreme energy as process.’

At the end of the day this is about the nature of relationship both with the land and each other. Do we interact with the land and others from a place of respect or do we bulldoze over wild places and the views of communities? And what are we willing to do to protect ourselves and those we love from those doing exactly that?

As Emma Goldman says – ‘If your heart is free, the ground you are standing on is liberated territory. Defend it.’


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