Waste incineration: Debunking the myths

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The United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) works to debunk misinformation that surrounds waste incineration, and I therefore feel compelled to respond to the letter that appeared in last week’s Chad entitled “Don’t talk rubbish”.

The plasma gasification technology being proposed by Peel for Bilsthorpe is experimental and is not conventional mass burn incineration. However, it is still appropriate to call the facility a “Waste Incineration Plant” because that is the term used for this technology in the Industrial Emissions Directive.

Most incinerator emissions are not monitored at all, and operators rarely get more than a slap on the wrist from the Environment Agency for emissions breaches.

A gasification incinerator in Dargavel was named as one of the 20 worst polluters in Scotland, so it is clear that emissions from incinerators are more than just ‘water vapour’.

After several years, and thousands of permit violations, the Dargavel facility was shut down without ever having exported any electricity to the grid. So much for the ‘energy’ bit of ‘energy from waste’.

There is absolutely no justification for building new incineration capacity anywhere in Nottinghamshire.

There is already more waste incineration capacity in the UK than residual waste to burn, so even proponents of incineration should now be focussing on reduction, reuse, recycling and anaerobic digestion, and not on exacerbating incineration overcapacity.

Shlomo Dowen

National Coordinator UKWIN