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Burn baby burn

Controversial energy from waste (EfW) technology has been given the thumbs-up by a report released this week.

It said that certain types of waste could produce up to 17% of the electricity generated in the UK by 2020.

EfW, which can often mean the burning of rubbish to generate electricity, has attracted bad publicity.

Many are concerned that incinerators release pollutants into the air and harm recycling levels.

This includes the Conservative Party, which has pledged to give councils the power to ban mass-burn incinerators if it wins the election.

However, a joint report by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Renewable Power Association (RPA) stated that EfW represented a sustainable alternative to landfilling waste.

ICE Waste Management Board chairman Peter Gerstrom said: "Instead of burying rubbish that is left after recycling, it can be used to create electricity through a variety of measures.

"We are not generating enough renewable electricity, which means that the UK will not reach the EU Renewables Directive target of producing 10% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2010."

Almost 30 million tonnes of household rubbish was sent to landfill in England in 2003.
The report stated that more than half of this could be used to create enough power to light 2 million homes each year.

RPA director of policy Gaynor Hartnell said: "Many of our European neighbours excel at both recycling and energy recovery.

"Producing energy from waste after recycling targets have been achieved is environmentally sound and will help us meet both our renewables targets and help us minimise the amount of waste going to landfill."

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