MPs opposing a waste to energy burner for Keighley highlighted findings which warn harmful emissions from incinerators are going unreported. UKWIN (UK Without Incineration Network) says waste incinerators are not reporting such emissions and claim the Government has not adequately regulated these facilities. The research, “Waste Incineration and Particulate Pollution: A failure of Governance”, has support from MPs John Grogan (Labour), Philip Davies (Conservative) and Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Tyler. Mr Grogan and Mr Davies have objected to the planned waste to energy burner for land next to Keighley’s Aire Valley Bypass.
Mr Grogan said: “The case for a tax on waste incineration, to mirror the Landfill Tax, and for a moratorium on new incinerators is now very strong. The value of this report is it quantifies for the first time the considerable negative impact on air quality of incinerators.”
Mr Davies said: “Incinerators are being foisted on communities across the country yet the damage they cause to the environment isn’t fully known. There needs to be a suspension on new incinerators until there’s better information available.”
But a spokesman commenting on behalf of Endless Energy, the applicant behind Keighley’s incinerator plans, said emissions are properly monitored.
Dr Mark Broomfield, associate director with Ricardo Energy & Environment, said: “Emissions from waste incinerators are particularly well controlled, so incinerators make an extremely minor contribution to airborne particulate matter – much less than other sources like road traffic or household wood burning.
“Airborne particulate matter is a critically important matter for public health in the UK and around the world.
“So let’s focus on dealing with the important sources and not get sidetracked onto issues like emissions from waste incineration which are already well controlled, monitored and understood.”
UKWIN says its report shows waste incinerators regularly exceed thresholds where they should be reporting emissions, but fail to report this.
Incinerators release particulate matter, which along with nitrous oxide can aggravate breathing problems, heart and lung disease.
The report shows particulate matter (PM) released by incinerators in England in 2017 is equivalent to the PM emissions from more than 250,000 40-tonne lorries travelling 75,000 miles a year, and nitrous oxide emissions are equivalent to around 80,000 lorries travelling 75,000 miles a year.
Meanwhile, analysis by the Green Party shows that by next year England could be burning more rubbish in incinerators than it recycles.
A report by Baroness Jenny Jones revealed that in 2016-17 about four million tonnes were landfilled, about 10 million incinerated and just over 11 million recycled. Her report predicts that between April 2018 and April 2019, just over 12 million tonnes of waste will be incinerated, compared to just under 12 million tonnes of rubbish recycled.
Green Party campaigners say they will use these figures to urge the Environment Agency to refuse a licence for Keighley’s proposed incinerator.
Former Green Party election candidate Celia Hickson, said: “The current government has overseen a system which means businesses can make a lot of money at the expense of local people by burning waste that could easily be recycled. It’s people in the Aire Valley who’ll be next to suffer.”