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Cory Environmental questions incineration fears

The firm behind the proposed £100 million energy-from-waste plant in London has supported incineration as part of a waste processing strategy.

Speaking at the MRW -organised Improving Contract Procurement in Waste conference, Cory Environmental head of technology Peter Gerstrom said: "Only a fraction of waste can be dealt with biologically, but all waste has combustible properties."

He added: "The public needs to make a connection with the plug in the wall and where that power comes from. In refuse, there's a big potential source of that power."

Both Gerstrom and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) head of funding and scrutiny Ron Bates told delegates that the public and politicians needed to be educated on waste technology.

Burning rubbish to avoid landfill attracts far more criticism than MBT, which is supported by environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth as a greener way of dealing with the waste left after recycling.

After being given the go-ahead by the planning inspector, Cory's incineration plant was put on ice by the Trade and Industry Secretary, due to concerns over its affect on the regeneration of the Thames Gateway area of London.

The term MBT covers a range of treatment methods for mixed residual waste to produce outputs that typically include dry recyclables, a low-grade soil conditioner or a refuse-derived fuel and a reject stream.

But according to the Environment Agency "emissions from MBT are no less significant than those from energy from waste".

An Institution of Civil Engineers report recently called for more electricity to be produced from waste, to help the UK meet renewable energy targets.

This was supported by the Environmental Services Association, which sees more potential from energy from waste.

Bates added: "Nobody seems to be bothered by the old coal burners used to generate electricity, which pose a far greater risk to the environment than energy from waste."

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