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Government 'lacks leadership' on incineration, say plastics firms

The plastics industry has accused a minister of failing to show leadership over incineration.

British Plastics Federation president Philip Watkins and director-general Peter Davis, wrote to energy and climate change secretary Edward Davey in January to voice their concerns about the security of the energy supplies on which their industry depends.

They wrote: “We are very surprised that energy-from-waste does not feature in your energy policy.

“We urge the Government to provide leadership for the rapid growth of EfW and the promotion of its benefits.”

The letter added: “We are not moving fast enough to ensure that UK energy supplies meet demand. Every month lost with no progress on developing new power generation brings power cuts closer.”

Davey, who replied this month, said the Government’s main goal was to “move waste up the hierarchy…with only residual waste going to energy recovery”.

He added: “Our aim is to get the most energy out of waste, not to get the most waste into energy.”

The BPF said it was “not reassured” by this response and that Davey had failed to agree to take a lead on promoting the benefits of energy-from-waste.

Davis said: “EfW could provide 11% of our UK energy needs from diverting unrecyclable waste from landfill.  It’s surprising they don’t attach much more urgency and leadership to developing more capacity.

“With the risk of black-outs on the horizon the secretary of state should be asking every month how much new power generation has been created? And how much has been closed down?”

The BPF also raised concerns about the security of gas supplies and the viability of the nuclear power construction programme.

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