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HPA confirm plans for incineration health study

The Health Protection Agency have announced plans for a study on “whether there is a potential link between the emissions from MWIs and health outcomes, including: low birth weight, still births and infant deaths”.

The HPA’s press release from the 24th of January 2012 stated that:

A new study to further extend the evidence base as to whether emissions from modern well run Municipal Waste Incinerators affect human health has been approved by the Health Protection Agency.

The HPA’s current position that well run and regulated modern Municipal Waste Incinerators (MWIs) are not a significant risk to public health remains valid, but the study is being carried out to extend the evidence base and to provide further information to the public on this subject.

The Breathe Clean Air Group, who oppose the ‘Barton Renewable Energy Plant’, have welcomed the decision, called for a moratorium on incineration until the preliminary results are published in March 2014 and stated that “Unfortunately, the dangers of wood-burning Biomass Plants are not being looked at by the HPA”.


  1. Dr.S.Prokop

    The HPA will subcontract this to SAHSU.We pay a lot of money to an agency that has stayed silent on many important issues…..a silence that amounts to supression.Its head is Professor Paul Elliott has two papers on incineration to his name:

    They were quickly taken up by COC…and there it has stayed…….air pollution mortality is counted separately, as though it had nothing to do with the plumes or lorry traffic rises.Rises in cancers were found in both studies,then salami sliced down by the application of social factors.So tough if your working class near an incinerator…..

    Its also time people stopped drawing circles round incinerators, nuclear power stations and Fukushima…you get the wrong answers…..a wind rose based plume is what you need (unlike the studies mentioned above).Here is an example from Italy… can see how studying a circle is silly,particularly from the illustrations !

    A detailed example of the academic discussion on the Pilgrim Massachusetts NPR can be seen at:


    For us , on the Sutton Croydon border this is not an academic discussion…they will be burning 275,000 tons a year (with radioactive options) ,when the plumes will affect 400,000 ish at urban density levels.

  2. Michael Ryan

    Justin McCracken, CEO of the Health Protection Agency, was unfortunate to start his job when my FoI request of 31 March 2008 was in his “too hard” tray. I’d asked for a list of all the incinerators around which the HPA had examined rates of illness & rates of premature deaths at electoral ward level to determine whether or not there was harm to health – by comparing upwind-v-downwind rates.

    I’d made the above request because in August 2003, the HPA promised to check health data around incinerators & landfill sites & I thought that five years was long enough for even the HPA to do a couple of days work.

    Mr McCracken chose to ignore my request and when faced with prospect of Information Commissioner forcing disclosure, he sent a backdated letter to “cross” with mine – but he forgot to tell the postroom to alter the setting on the franking machine.

    Those in the Surrey area might recall articles in both the Surrey Mirror and also the Dorking Advertiser on 22 May 2008 reporting the fact that the HPA hadn’t bothered to check any health data around any incinerator.

    Also, in 2007, several newspapers had reported my research using ONS data to examine infant death rates in London’s electoral wards and on 5 Aug 2007, I e-mailed this map to Professor Paul Elliott, the very same geezer in Dr Prokop’s post above. When you look at this map, bear in mind that I had no idea that Reichhold had an incinerator in Cricket Green ward (Merton Borough), which is one of the high infant death wards in the H7 group:

    Here’s a few maps I’ve prepared since then:

  3. Michael Ryan

    Here’s text of e-mail sent to my MP (Daniel Kawczynski) earlier today:

    “Have you seen your name in Stroud News & Journal incinerator article of 1 Feb 2012??‏

    Dear Mr Kawczynski,

    Here’s link for Stroud N&J article:

    The letters page of same issue has one of mine in which I’ve criticised both the HPA and the Environment Agency and also the rationale for the proposed study into “birth outcomes” around incinerators.

    Anyone who has ever had dealings with “modelling” of data will understand that:

    “Good practice stars with a concept review, whereby an expert panel meets to recommend the
    best modelling approach. Data are then collected and the model constructed, calibrated and tested.
    The expert panel should judge whether the model is generating realistic results. If not, it may undergo further calibration, or more data input, or else the modelling approach should be changed.”

    (“Computer analysis models: the growing over-reliance”, Civil Engineering Volume 165, Issue CE1, February 2012)

    Dr Prokop, whose blog is above mine on this website, is a also aware of the shortcomings of the HPA’s incinerator study.

    Note that when local anti-incinerator group at Shrewsbury showed my Coventry map at a Veolia liaison meeting a few years

    ago, Veolia’s agent (falsely) claimed that the 2nd most common wind direction in Shrewsbury was from the North East.

    Here’s link for windrose at Shawbury:

    I hope Nick Hall was able to “shoot him down” in that one!

    Maybe the Veolia chappie thought that NW was the same as NE?

    Kind regards,

    Michael Ryan

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