10 April 2019 by Joshua Doherty

MP suggests peerage for UKWIN campaigner

MPs debated the future need for energy from waste plants in England in Parliament yesterday, with one member calling for anti-incineration campaigner Shlomo Dowen to be recommended for a peerage.

The debate yesterday was secured by Labour MP for Keighley, John Grogan, who called for a moratorium on new energy from waste plants, as well as the introduction of an incineration tax – an issue that was also raised with Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons today [see full text below].

Shlomo Dowen is the secretary of UKWIN and works with MPs and residents across the country

This comes as the Environment Agency considers a permit application for an EfW in Mr Grogan’s Keighley constituency – which he publicly opposes – and included contributions from other MPs opposed to EfW developments.

But others including Defra’s minister with responsibility for resources and waste, Therese Coffey, defended the use of EfW as an alternative to landfill.

Opening the debate, Mr Grogan praised the work of the UK Without Incineration Network, which he says “is to be commended on the quality of the information it provides” on current and planned EfW plants.

He quipped that the group’s founder, Mr Dowen, would be the “first person I will recommend for a peerage” if elected to government.

Commenting on the debate, and Mr Grogan’s comments to letsrecycle.com today, Mr Dowen said: “It was pleasing to be name-checked, and it is satisfying to see high level, cross-party scepticism and I think the message was clear that the Environment Agency needs to be more robust with incinerators. It was a good, but short debate, and I think the appetite is definitely there for a longer one in the future.”

Permitting

Participants in yesterday’s debate included the Conservative MP for Witham, Priti Patel, who is campaigning against the proposed EfW plant at Rivenhall in Essex.

On permitting for new EfW facilities Ms Patel claimed that the process ‘lacks transparency’ for the public, who may be opposed to developments in their locality.

She said: “When incinerator operators apply for licences from the Environment Agency, a lot of bureaucratic and complicated paperwork goes with that that prevents local residents from scrutinising some of these applications.”

However, the Labour MP for Huddersfield Barry Sheerman argued that EfW plants do have a role to play in the UK.

“He [Mr Grogan] should be very cautious about calling it ‘incineration’. Energy from waste is at its best…when, for most of the town or city, it not only feeds into the electricity supply, but is a large contributor to it.”

Mr Sheerman continued: “If the heat is retained and heats the whole of the city/town centre, it is a very valuable part of the balance that we need. We can never recycle everything, and if we do not have that balance between good quality energy from waste, recycling and minimising throwing stuff in holes in the ground, we are lost. I would love that sort of facility in my constituency.”

Mr Grogan argued that with the UK committed to a recycling target of 65% by 2035, current capacity is likely to be sufficient for future EfW needs. He added: “The way I would help local authorities to recycle more would be to tax incinerators, just as landfill is taxed, to give them the money to increase recycling rates. That is being considered by the Treasury at the moment.”

Coffey

In her response, Dr Coffey highlighted the rise in recycling rates over the last 15 years and reduction in landfilled waste, and the need for alternative treatment options for waste that can not be recycled. However, she concurred that future recycling goals ‘may reduce the future level of residual waste treatment required’.

“Tax policy is generally a matter for the Treasury. Although energy from waste can play an important role in reducing the amount of waste going to landfill, in the long term we want to maximise the amount of waste used for recycling.”


Therese Coffey
Defra Minister

She said: “Energy from waste or incineration with energy recovery should not compete with greater waste prevention, reuse or recycling. England currently has enough capacity to treat around 36% of residual municipal waste, and the projected increase in recycling thanks to our resources and waste strategy measures will reduce the future level of residual waste treatment infrastructure that is required. However, energy from waste will continue to have an important role in diverting waste from landfill.”

On the issue of an incineration tax, Dr Coffey added: “Tax policy is generally a matter for the Treasury. Although energy from waste can play an important role in reducing the amount of waste going to landfill, in the long term we want to maximise the amount of waste used for recycling.”

Theresa May

Energy from waste plants were raised in Parliament again today, with the Prime Minister Theresa May commenting in response to a question put to her by the MP for South West Wiltshire, Andrew Murrison, that the government would consider an incineration tax if recycling targets are not met.

“The issue of  incineration I understand is a crucial one, particularly for people in certain local areas,” the Prime Minister said.

She added: “We do want to maximise the waste sent for recycling rather than to incineration and landfill, but waste incineration plants play and continue to play a important role in reducing the rubbish send to landfill, and we do welcome work to drive down waste to landfill further.

“If wider policies don’t deliver our waste ambitions in the future, including higher recycling rates, we will consider the introduction of a tax on the incineration of waste, which will run in conjunction with the landfill tax and take into account the possible impact on local authorities.”

You can see the clip on Parliament TV below.

 

1COMMENTS

There is one vital thing everyone is missing no one is considering the safety of these plants with regard to the local population It is not about landfill versus Incineration These plants generate twelve major pollutants including Furans and Dioxin which are a Class A cancer-causing agent Westbury in Wiltshire has a range of hills where a large amount of the population live and is adjacent to the proposed ATT Gasification Plant where the top of the 75 metre chimney is at the same height. So the people will be subjected to these emissions when the wind is in their direction The contractor and Wiltshire Council have ignored the Health and Safety Act 1974 They have placed money over the health of the local public and Cherry Picked the minimum safety requirement which is the environment permit It will not ascertain if you breathe these emissions in on a daily basis for years it will not be a risk to your health only a Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment will do this The permit is there to satisfy the levels of the EU Directive are not exceeded . The fact the Environment Agency has never refused a Permit for any Gasification Incinerator The situation here is a National Disgrace planning was not given in July 2018 on Health and Safety grounds however Wiltshire Council did not want this and changed the reason for rejection from safety to the size of the building allowing the contractor to gain planning permission in January 2019 We are now awaiting a decision on whether it is to be called in by the Minister There has been a complete failure of the democratic process that could endanger the health of the population of Westbury and the local villages for years to come

Posted by David Davis on April 13, 2019

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