Molly Scott Cato has written to the European Investment Bank (EIB) challenging it over its support for incineration projects which currently top half a billion pounds in the UK. In a letter to the Vice President of the EIB, Molly highlights the controversial St Dennis waste to energy facility in Cornwall which is benefitting from an £80m loan from the EIB.
Molly has asked the EIB whether any environmental factors were included in the assessment criteria for funding the project. As a member of the European Parliament’s Economics Committee she has also called on the bank to follow the recommendations of the Waste Framework Directive and prioritise investment in waste prevention, re-use and recycling. Molly cites continued investments in incineration despite predictions that UK incineration will reach overcapacity by around 2020, as is already the case in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. She said:
“I have asked the EIB to present a phase-out plan of its lending for non-renewable energy, including its excessive support for energy from waste incineration projects. We need the EIB to ensure environmental criteria feature more highly in the assessment process for applications and that future funding prioritises job-rich activities such as renewables and resource efficiency. Incineration means valuable materials are being lost from the economy. We need to create a circular economy where resources are reused time and again and waste is eliminated. This is the spirit of the new Circular Economy package that has been adopted by the European Commission.”
Molly also had one minute speaking time in a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels during which she had a chance to challenge the EIB and their funding criteria. View the video here:
This year’s report from the Parliament includes suggestions for improving the Bank’s performance in several areas.
It could help us crack down on tax avoidance by ending loans to companies registered in tax havens and providing full transparency on beneficial ownership.
It could help us to fund the transition to a renewable energy future and be a catalyst for making industry more sustainable; indeed the parliamentary report includes a green demand to boost investment in sustainable industry.
But the EIB is currently funding projects that do the reverse. In the UK the Bank is investing £500m in the construction of incinerators, including the deeply unpopular incinerator at St Dennis in Cornwall.
To stop such destructive investment we are calling for stronger environmental assessment of projects and a full audit of the skills of the EIB’s board members to assess whether they are suitably qualified to make judgements about the environmental impact of projects seeking EIB funding.