Packaging company DS Smith’s White Paper ‘One Step Away from Zero Waste‘ includes a call for an incineration tax and a recognition of incineration as a barrier to the circular economy. Continue reading »

Today the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRACOM) published their report into Waste Management in England.

Shlomo Dowen, National Coordinator of the United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), commented: “I commend the report’s calls for maximising recycling, its recognition that put-or-pay clauses in incinerator contracts can undermine incentives to recycle, and the Committee’s recommendation that there should be a moratorium on the incineration of recyclable waste”.

UKWIN responded to EFRACOM’s call for evidence with a written submission, and was subsequently invited to provide oral evidence to the Committee.

EFRACOM cited UKWIN’s criticism of Government inconsistencies, quoting: “The pro-recycling message is being undermined by perverse financial incentives to incinerate and compost material that should not be…the Department for Communities and Local Government allows planning consent for incinerators that go against Government policies on climate change, energy efficiency and waste hierarchy”.

The Report calls for a Minister to be responsible for a consistent approach from the Government, and UKWIN hopes that this will bring an end to harmful incinerator subsidies and an end to the baffling investments from the Green Investment Bank in incinerator projects that are far from green.

UKWIN provided the Committee with evidence that incineration harms recycling, including what the EFRACOM report describes as “data showing an apparent correlation between high rates of incineration and low rates of recycling” (see table and chart, below).

LACW incineraton v recycling rankings table 2012-13LACW recycling v incineration rates graph 2012-13

Many long-term waste management contracts include ‘put-or-pay’ clauses requiring local authorites to pay for incineration capacity even if they do not use it, reducing their financial incentive to recycle.

EFRACOM’s report notes that: “When we asked the Minister how the Government ensures that only genuinely residual waste is sent to incinerators, he told us that the key pressure is gate fees—i.e. the charge that must be paid to dispose of waste in an incineration facility. However, we are concerned about the effectiveness of this singular mechanism following evidence we received about ‘put or pay contracts’ and negative impacts on recycling rates.”

The report recommends that: “…Defra should aspire to achieve recycling rates at the maximum feasible level…” and that Defra should: “…ensure that waste sent to…incinerators is only genuinely residual waste” and “assess whether the use of gate fees is sufficient to achieve this aim and to confirm whether additional interventions, such as regulatory requirements to remove dry recyclables or higher gate fees have been fully considered”.

Ed Miliband has called for the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to have “real powers to borrow and attract investment”.  The United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) and Biofuelwatch have responded by saying that any increase in funding or powers for the GIB should be linked to a responsibility to be greener in their investments.

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Even with economic growth there has been another big fall in standard rate landfilling in the UK. Landfill tax data was published on 27th August for period up to June 2014. In the 12 months to 30th June just 16.6m tonnes of non-inert waste was landfilled compared to 18.6m for the year before. By 2020 non-inert landfilling may be down to around 6-8m tonnes a year. Data available from: Continue reading »

The recently published report ‘Ever-Decreasing Circles: Closing in on the Circular Economy‘, produced collaboratively by RWM Ambassadors, has called for a review of the potential for an incineration tax amongst other measures. Continue reading »

the-wasteline-waste+resource-management_Jul2014-coverA briefing paper produced by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has raised a number of concerns relating to incineration and recommended that “the Treasury should launch a consultation on how incineration can be reduced most effectively”, advising that: “The terms of reference should include an examination of the costs and benefits of introducing fiscal incentives to reduce incineration, introducing regulations to ban the incineration of specific materials, and doing nothing”. Continue reading »

Local campaigners celebrating the New Barnfield victory.

Mick Bee and other local campaigners celebrating the New Barnfield victory.

The Secretary of State has agreed with the Planning Inspector to refuse planning consent for the 380ktpa incinerator proposed by Veolia for Hertfordshire. Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: “Development within the green belt will not be allowed unless there are very special circumstances, and in this case, the benefits of the development did not outweigh the potential harm to the green belt”. Continue reading »

The European Commission has adopted proposals including a target of 70% recycling of municipal waste by 2030. These legislative proposals will now pass to the European Council and the European Parliament. Continue reading »

Join Biofuelwatch, UKWIN and local campaigners for protests at the Green Investment Bank’s two Annual Review events in London on 25th and Edinburgh on 26th June. Continue reading »

The sixth issue of Eunomia’s Residual Waste Infrastructure Review is out, and it shows that there has been further increases in incineration capacity at a time when residual waste arisings have been falling. If one combines Eunomia’s forecasts with the 2015 and 2020 trends for English waste arisings set out in the Government’s February 2013 paper Forecasting 2020 waste arisings and treatment capacity then there is an estimation that there will be more residual waste treatment capacity than residual waste arisings from around 2015/16 (see chart, below). If one were to look at whether there was more capacity operational and under construction than genuinely residual waste then we already have overcapacity.
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Big drop in landfilling

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Jun 032014

Landfill Tax data released by HMRC shows that landfilling of household, industrial and commercial waste in the UK continues to fall. Continue reading »

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