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Defra EfW guide ‘before recess’

A long-awaited guide for residents addressing the environmental, economic and health considerations related to energy from waste is expected to be published next month.

Defra waste chief Colin Church told the Waste to Energy City Summit that his department would publish the potentially controversial document before the parliamentary recess on 17 July.

He said:  “We are looking to help stimulate, guide and inform the sometimes quite virulent debate around energy from waste that you get in local communities.

“One of the things we are looking to do is to produce a guide to EfW looking at the environmental case, the human health case, the economic case etc. which we hope will be available before the summer recess.”   

As revealed by MRW in February, industry chiefs slammed early drafts of the EfW guide, labelling it “unduly negative and weak in supporting EfW”.

The concerns were raised at a Renewable Energy Association (REA) meeting attended by figures from Sita, Chinook and Imperial College London.

Minutes from the REA’s gasification and pyrolysis group meeting, held on 9 January, said: “The rationale for the EfW seems weak. In the guide there is little mention of waste reduction and resource efficiency.

“It seems unduly negative and weak in supporting EfW, there seems to be a defensive position rather than say this is complementary to recycling. There could be a focus on energy potential/base load, resource, and energy diversity.”

Church, Defra’s director of climate, atmosphere and waste, also told the conference the department would publish a progress report on its anaerobic digestion (AD) strategy, which it published last year.  

He said food waste was political challenge and that AD was “important because it’s a good way of obtaining energy from food and other organic wastes but also of course, it’s a good way to capture the nutrients that are in those products and return them”.

He added: “We have an action plan that we published last year and we will be launching the one-year on update next month.”  

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