UKWIN has obtained the full set of Annual Incinerator Monitoring Reports for 2016 from the Environment Agency (EA). These reports are produced by the operators of these facilities and then passed on to the EA. These reports are available from UKWIN’s archive of Annual Incinerator Performance Reports and Permits
In an accompanying e-mail message to UKWIN the EA helpfully noted that:
“This contains the annual reports and annual reporting forms for all of the municipal and biomass waste incinerators which were fully operational for the whole of 2016. In many cases the annual reporting forms have been incorporated into the annual reports and in some cases they are separate, but hopefully this will contain all the information you need.
“Feel free to circulate the link as you see fit but please note that not all of the annual reports will yet have been checked by the local inspectors and so may contain errors or omissions which will be picked up once they are reviewed (and then we can update the data set later this year). In the meantime though please do let me know if there is any information that you think it missing or which may be incorrect, and I will follow it up.”
If there is anything you wish to draw to UKWIN’s attention regarding these reports, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
UKWIN notes that in addition to greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate climate change, incinerators (including gasification and pyrolysis plants) emit many toxins and pollutants, giving rise to public health concerns. Although incinerator fumes pass through expensive filter systems, modern incinerators still emit significant levels of dioxins, NOx and ultrafine particles that can be harmful to both human health and the natural environment.
Dioxins are a group of chemicals that are carcinogenic and act as endocrine disruptors. Dioxin emission levels from incinerators are typically measured twice a year by external assessors who have to give prior notice of their visits, so operators can ensure that a plant is running under optimal conditions for that visit. Even then, where problems are detected they are often blamed on unrepresentative samples or poorly calibrated equipment and are re-run. The assumption is not typically made that non-breech readings could be untrue and need to be re-run, so there is a bias towards under-reporting emissions breaches. Where more frequent or continuous measurements are made, total dioxin emissions have been found to be very much higher than those calculated from biannual measurements [De Fre and Wevers 1998 & Reinmann et al 2006].