Incinerator operators must get permit or face prosecution

All industrial operators that want to continue to burn waste after the end of the month must apply for a new permit before the start of April 2005, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned.

The Waste Incineration Directive (WID) will take effect from 27 December 2005, and any plants wishing to burn waste up until and after this date must ensure that they can meet all the requirements under the tough new regulations.

Even if an operator does not wish to burn waste after the start date, they still need to make an application, stating that this is the case.

Around 140 plants are currently regulated by the EA in England and Wales, and between them they currently incinerate approximately four million tonnes of waste each year – about 10% of the total amount of waste that we produce.

All municipal and hazardous waste incinerators are already regulated by the EA and are subject to strict environmental standards, but incinerators and other plants burning waste will now also need to meet tough standards in order to be granted a permit. These include:

  • Tighter limits on emissions levels, including substantial reductions in sulphur dioxide, dust emissions and dioxins
  • New requirements to monitor for additional pollutants
  • New measures stating that plants must stop burning waste immediately if emissions rise above the required levels

    Head of industry regulation at the EA, Dr Martin Bigg said that incinerators and plants that burned waste would continue to be monitored and regulated more and more closely.

    “Emission limits are already very stringent and the risk to health or wildlife is very low. These new requirements reinforce environmental protection and reflect what can now be achieved,” he stated.

    “It is essential that operators get their applications in as soon as possible – anyone that fails to apply by the end of March 2005 will be considered to be operating illegally and therefore could be prosecuted or shut down.”

    By Jane Kettle

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