Waste Disposal

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th February 2004.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the environmental benefits of incineration.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Incineration with controls on emissions is an important part of the Government's strategy on waste management. It is the only suitable way to protect the environment from certain biological pathogens and is the most effective way to render some hazardous chemical wastes safe.

While re-using, recycling or composting waste can represent a better use of resources, incineration offers an opportunity to extract energy from the waste and is therefore preferable to disposal. This, in turn can reduce extraction and transportation of fuels that would otherwise be used to create energy. By diverting biodegradable waste from landfill, incineration also helps to reduce the production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Government have commissioned a comparative study of the health and environmental effects of different types of waste treatment, which is to be published shortly.

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