Press Release 17 February 2021
Extinction Rebellion Luton have been alerting the people of Luton that the area is threatened with a huge increase in traffic, contributing to the climate crisis. The threat comes from a proposed bottling plant at Butterfield Green.
“We are in a state Ecological Emergency, a Climate Crisis”, said campaigner Mark Dimmock. “And we simply cannot allow a development that is about water extraction, traffic increase, and pollution from additional plastic bottles.”
XR Luton have launched a social media and a letter campaign urging people to object to the bottling plant, which is due to be considered by Luton Borough Council in the next few days.
An industrial unit is proposed that will cover almost 10 acres, and water will be extracted from two drilled bore holes. Underground pipes will carry the extracted water to the plant.
The plant will operate 24 hours a day, with constant traffic causing a massive pollution impact on the area.
Further, bottling water will increase the amount of plastic in the environment, which is entirely unacceptable.
XR Luton are also questioning the environmental impact water extraction could have on the water table and an essential life source for the future generations of Luton. With rising global temperatures, which could eventually lead to drought conditions, new water extraction would seem to be extreme folly.
Indeed, the Government’s own water extraction strategy (ref1) (ref2) spells out the dangers for water-stressed areas, and suggests that no new water extraction should be allowed. Luton and surrounding areas contain rare chalk streams, and the quality of water here must be preserved, say Extinction Rebellion Luton.
Back in 2019, a Countryfile article was published with a quote from the (at the time) head of the Environment Agency: “Water shortages in England are set to become an ‘existential threat’ to the nation, according to James Bevan, the head of the Environment Agency”.
“In other words, water extraction, leading to possible water shortages, could threaten our very existence”, declared Luton XR campaigner Mark Dimmock.
“A new plant that will add massively to the number of bottles in the waste stream would be ludicrous now that we know just how harmful plastic waste can be”, added Luton XR rebel Lynn Bliss. “We simply cannot consider introducing so much into the environment from Luton”.
Lynn went on to declare: “We are using every possible social media channel to tell the people of the town to object in the strongest terms to this outrage”.
Another campaigner, Ian Alderman, added: “13 billion plastic bottles are used in the UK each year (480 billion sold globally). 7.5 billion are recycled in the UK (we hope), but 90 per cent of the world’s plastic bottles are not recycled. 5.5 billion bottles end up in landfill or our oceans! All plastic is a product of the petrochemical industry. The company Roxane has asked the Environment Agency for a licence to extract up to 120 cubic metres per hour, which equates to 240,000 half litre bottles per hour. This corresponds to the quantity of water used by 15,000 residents of Luton each year – and Luton is an area classed as seriously water stressed by the Environment Agency. The potential pollution from the plastic corresponds alarmingly to 42 thousand tonnes of plastic per year! Just so they can steal our water and sell it back to us and make a handsome profit for themselves. No, No, No!!”
To voice your concerns, PLEASE email Email PSC-WaterResources@environment-agency.gov.uk and your councillors, referencing “The company Roxane UK Limited have applied for planning for a bottling plant at Butterfield Business Park, Luton, Nat Grid 10422 24872. Application number NPS/WR/033836”.