Environment Agency says incineration should be part of UK’s waste strategy

The Environment Agency has announced that incineration and other thermal recovery processes have a place in the UK’s integrated waste management strategy, providing that they do not undermine more appropriate waste management options.

In response to a report by the Commons Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs, published in March (see related story), which slated the Government’s Waste Strategy 2000 (see related story) as woefully inadequate, leaving the country exposed to an expansion of large-scale incineration, the Agency has stated that it advocates waste strategies where the mix of waste management options results in the lowest practicable impact on the environment.

The Committee had also criticised the Environment Agency for its inability to persuade a sceptical public that incineration is safe, or even to provide the required regulatory regime which would insure that incinerators operate as they should. In response, the Agency has announced that it is to look again at its inspection regime, including the management of ash, and will report back to the committee when the review is complete.

“We aim to influence primarily through our ability as a firm, fair and efficient regulator,” said Environment Agency Director of Environmental Protection, Paul Leinster. “We note the committee’s desire for the Agency to have a wider environmental role and to seek greater influence on government. We will be very interested in the government’s report on the Agency’s role and performance, when it is produced.”

The Agency does, however, agree with the Committee’s observations that the waste strategy needs to be adequately funded.

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