Where will Bristol's rubbish go?
Two tonnes of rubbish are generated every year for every man, woman and child in the former Avon area around Bristol.
A million people live in the region – covered by the councils of Bristol, Bath and North-East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
That figure is rising and the amount of waste we all throw out – businesses, industry and builders included – is expected to grow.
In January 2009 the four councils, that make up the West of England Partnership, will launch a consultation exercise to gauge public opinion on plans to tackle the rising amount of rubbish.
Bridal hand tied bouquet (Roses)
2 Bridesmaids (Roses)
Groom & Best Man button holes (Roses)
Discounted rates apply to larger Bridal party requests.
Not to be used with any other offer.
Contact: 0117 2448228
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
But they do not all agree about what to do. Bath and North East Somerset will not seek Government help towards the cost of one or more major facilities – possibly a huge incinerator at Avonmouth.
Bath and North East Somerset council is more ambitious than its neighbours about the possibility of eventually being able to recycle almost all its rubbish.
But the four councils are agreed that other facilities will be needed across the Avon area. They are looking at 18 possible sites for one or more plants. The most likely option involves five treatment sites being developed.
The councils want to know what we all think about these locations, possible new landfill sites and plans for recycling and waste reduction.
Between January and March statutory and interested bodies, including environmental organisations, will be consulted.
There will also be public exhibitions at council offices.
And discussion groups will be launched online with information available on the internet.
Documents will be distributed, talks will be held at town and parish councils and there will be drop-in events where the public can raise issues.
Of the 2 million tonnes of rubbish created in the West each year, 900,000 tonnes comes from the construction industry.
Much of this is rubble and finds its way into landfill sites, including old quarries, and some is moved outside the Avon area.
Of the remaining 1.1 million tonnes, less than a third – 330,000 tonnes – is municipal waste, collected from homes or generated by councils themselves.
More than two-thirds is commercial or industrial waste. This is the responsibility of the private companies that generate it – not the councils.
The local authorities have two functions when it comes to waste.
They have to encourage waste reduction and recycling, collect household rubbish and dispose of it.
The vast majority of what we do not recycle ends up in landfill sites – in Buckinghamshire, Devon and Dorset as well as local sites.
Landfill taxes are set to rise from £40 a tonne this year to £48 next year and eventually to around £70.
This will cost councils hundreds of millions of pounds – hence the drive to find other ways of dealing with residual waste.
But their other responsibility is as planners to provide sites where private firms can develop waste treatment plants for commercial and industrial as well as municipal waste.
About 800,000 tonnes of waste will be left over annually after both families and businesses have recycled all they can.
The five sites the councils favour in their "preferred option" are at Avonmouth (390,000 tonnes), somewhere in central Bristol (60,000), Weston-super-Mare (100,000), Keynsham (150,000) and Yate (100,000).
The most likely site is at a former Texaco fuel storage depot north of Severn Road in Avonmouth.
Spud Murphy, councillor for Avonmouth ward on the Bristol side of the border with South Gloucestershire, believes a lot of local people would be opposed to an incinerator.
The West of England Partnership is considering a variety of technologies, but it consulted the public about this early last year.
The new round of consultation is about where treatment plants should go.
But it will also look at locations for new landfill sites.
Despite every effort to make landfill a thing of the past, some landfill – about 265,000 tonnes a year by 2020 – will still be necessary, the partnership says.
Long-serving sites such as Berwick Farm, near Hallen, will close in the next year or two. Yanley, at Long Ashton, has already closed.
New sites have opened. One is in a clay pit just outside Shortwood, near Pucklechurch.
"We were very happy for the old clay pit at the bottom of Cattybrook Road to be fill ed in this way. It will be closed in 10 years' time and restored to meadow with public footpaths across it," Pucklechurch parish councillor Les Whittock told the Bristol Evening Post.