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MPs claim overcapacity of EfW in UK

Kingmoor park ef w graphic

An early day motion (EDM) has been launched in Parliament calling for a moratorium on new energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities.

The EDM, which so far has gathered six signatures, said the capacity of EfW facilities in existence or under construction outstrips the amount of “genuinely residual” waste forecasted.

It called for a halt on the development of conventional incinerators as well as advanced conversion technologies such as pyrolysis and gasification plants.

The motion’s primary sponsor, Labour’s John Grohan, won his seat at Keighley after promising to campaign against a local EfW facility proposed by Endless Energy. Plans include a refuse-derived fuel plant, pyrolysis plant and a facility to turn plastic waste into diesel.

Anti-incineration campaign group UKWIN backed the motion. The group also produced its own report, using figures from a report by the Eunomia consultancy, to argue there will be an overcapacity of EfW. Eunomia’s report has been hotly contested by a number of waste management companies.

UKWIN national co-ordinator Shlomo Dowen said: “Every day I speak to people up and down the country who are facing the threat of another incinerator in their area, even though there are already several others nearby.

“Companies are building these plants with little regard for whether or not they will be needed in 10-30 years’ time, and many who are investing in these plants may soon find themselves with a stranded asset.

“Building more incinerators, be they conventional burners or gasification plants, is unnecessary, unwanted and environmentally counter-productive. The Government needs to stop incineration overcapacity from getting worse as a matter of urgency.”

An EDM is not part of the legislative process and is often used by MPs as lobbying tactic.


That this House notes in the UK there is now more waste incineration capacity built and under construction than it is forecast there will be genuinely residual combustible waste to burn; further notes that incineration overcapacity can be a barrier to achieving the recycling society; believes that realising such a recycling society would result in significant economic, social and environmental benefits; acknowledges the need to send a clear message that the waste hierarchy should shift focus away from incineration and towards waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting; and calls on the Government and the devolved governments to introduce a complete moratorium on new waste incineration capacity, covering both conventional waste incineration and other forms such as gasification and pyrolysis, as a matter of urgency.

Readers' comments (1)

  • The chancelllors budget outlining how taxes are going to be imposed to ensure plastics are not landfilled or burnt in Incinerators is significant. Plastics are a cornerstone of making money from an incinerator . If incinerators are denied this money spinning fuel then there certainly will be too many incinerators chasing too little suitable fuel . Incineration only works in a throwaway society . If the country takes recycling seriously then there will be over capacity in the existing incinerators

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