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Reliance on incineration to increase - but less than anticipated

There is a “huge reduction” in the country’s requirement from incinerators or energy-from-waste (EfW) plants, according to Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw.

Bradshaw said original estimates in the Waste Strategy 2000 put the need for 34% of the country’s waste to be incinerated by 2015 — a figure the Government has now reduced to a maximum of 27% by 2020.

He said: “We still have far less energy-from-waste compared to other European Union countries” and compared the UK’s current EfW figure of 9% to that of the Netherlands (64%) and Denmark (54%).

In defence of the negative public feeling towards EfW Bradshaw said the fears were “outdated”, that modern technology was “much cleaner”, and that there was a need to disseminate this information to people. He gave the example of health-conscious Germany, which “has hundreds of EfW plants” — to no apparent detriment.

“There is nothing to fear from waste to energy. Landfill is much, much worse,” Bradshaw said, and highlighted the “extra benefit” of having more green fuel.

Bradshaw did however point out that the Government did not want to promote EfW at the expense of waste prevention or recycling, which still ranked above it in the waste hierarchy, and said incineration was a topic the Government welcomed views on in its current waste strategy consultation.

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