A "LIFETIME opportunity" presents itself to Scilly to solve a chronic waste disposal problem annually exacerbated by ever-growing demands imposed on it by tourism.
"Central government is putting their money where their mouth is," said Andy Street of the islands council's consultants SLR – global experts in waste management.
The islands council's chief technical officer, Neville Gardner, entrusted with the hitherto thankless task of solving an immense problem magnified by geography and limited resources, said: "it is a very good news story to tell".
Pledged by Defra is a tranche of £6 to £7 million over the next four years, with a further sum in a similar time scale to follow contingent on the islands' first-phase delivery.
"Defra has committed to the provision of significant levels of funding for implementation of the strategy," said Andy. "It will result in complete transformation of the existing waste management facility at Moorwell, along with other improvements across all inhabited islands."
It was a unique opportunity to address Scilly's historic issues associated with waste management, he said. Referring to the "appalling" waste management site refuse stockpile locally dubbed "The Moorwell Alp", which created hygiene and environmental threats in a Conservation Area, he said it was vital the islands ran with the scheme and were not deterred.
Wide-ranging measures envisaged include a new incinerator capable of providing renewable waste plant energy to replace what he described as "pretty much the oldest incinerator currently working in Europe".
The stated objectives of a strategy approved by the islands council three years ago are:
Establishing a long-term, environmentally and financially sustainable waste management system that is technically sound and will protect and enhance the environment;
Ensuring statutory targets are met;
Establishing infrastructure that will comply with all relevant EU Directives (specifically a replacement incinerator);
Satisfying the requirements of the Regulator (Environment Agency with regard to Environmental Permitting and protection; and
Meeting Defra requirements on the funding committed.