Waste Incineration: Regulation

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:16 am on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 11:16 am, 9th April 2019

The hon. Member for Keighley has suggested an incineration tax previously. As he pointed out, tax policy is generally a matter for the Treasury. Although energy from waste can play an important role in reducing the amount of waste going to landfill, in the long term we want to maximise the amount of waste used for recycling. Again, wider policies are set out in our resources and waste strategy. Changes that we will introduce to the extent of producer responsibility will effectively incentivise the design of products that are much more straightforward to recycle.

That is an opportunity, but I am also aware that industry and the Environmental Services Association are concerned that, if we do not reach 65% in that time or do not make progress more quickly, there will be a lack of incineration. In effect, that will be a commercial decision for them to consider, but, as was mentioned earlier, we want to encourage the use of the heat that plants produce, and to work closely with industry to secure a substantial increase in the number of energy from waste plants that are formally recognised as achieving recovery status R1. We will ensure that all future EfW plants achieve recovery status.

My right hon. Friend Priti Patel rightly talked about transparent information for residents. I am conscious that some environmental assessments are very technical. That is why we have the Environment Agency to make that judgment. However, there is still an opportunity for residents to table questions either directly to the developer or to the Environment Agency during its consideration.