Three planned energy from waste (EfW) incinerators are to be reviewed pending decisions on whether they will go ahead at all, pointing towards a shift away from incineration as a method of waste treatment.
It is believed that spiralling costs and a dramatic reduction in residual waste arisings have put a question mark over the plans to build EfW facilities in Hull, Coventry and Leeds.
Senior councillors from Hull City Council and East Riding Council are meeting to discuss the matter with one option being a much smaller waste-burner than the 240,000 tonne facility which is currently planned.
Elsewhere in Coventry, a now Labour-run city council, following the local elections, there is concern about funding a joint project between the city council, Solihull Borough Council and Warwickshire County Council to rebuild an incinerator in Whitney.
The council has said it is reluctant to put money into the PFI for the incinerator at the expense of frontline services and is instead now considering a plan to merely improve the existing facility rather than rebuild it.
Similarly, in Leeds a new Labour administration is to throw out the previous Lib-Con council’s plan to expand incineration as the principle way of dealing with the city’s waste.
The news that the validity of all of these projects is now being questioned has been welcomed by anti-incineration activists who believe this may be the start of an emerging trend away from building incinerators on account of financial issues.
UK Without Incineration (UKWIN) national coordinator Shlomo Dowen told MRW: “This can now be considered a pattern and it must be said that there is definitely a connection between this trend emerging and the outcome of the recent general and local elections.
“The changes in terms of both the government and the economy mean that these proposals will be looked at more carefully and authorities will start to consider more and more whether they are economically viable. You have got to remember the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are notoriously anti-PFI so this will obviously have an impact on a lot of proposed facilities.”