Incinerators: Health Hazards

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Labour, Oxford East

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make an assessment of the registers held by the Environment Agency of reports on incinerator bottom ash for the purposes of determining whether its composition exceeds permitted levels for harmful substances.

Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy Minister of State (Farming and the Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

holding answer 12 February 2009

Monitoring data on certain heavy metals, loss on ignition (the change in weight recorded when the ash is heated to a high temperature) and the total organic carbon in incinerator bottom ash is provided by the incinerator operators. This is placed upon the Environment Agency public registers. These data are checked by the Environment Agency upon receipt. Limits are set on loss on ignition/total organic carbon to ensure that the incinerator is operating efficiently. No breaches of these limits have been reported hence no enforcement action has been taken. Limits are not set on the heavy metal content of the ash as a permit condition. The operator is expected to carry out more detailed analysis before the ash can be disposed of.

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