Incinerators: Greater London

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 22nd January 2013.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had on the potential effects on human health in Newham of the operation of the South East London Combined Heat and Power incinerator.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend Mr Paterson, has not held any discussions on the potential effects on human health in Newham of the South East London Combined Heat and Power incinerator.

Energy from waste incinerators are regulated under environmental permits granted by the Environment Agency to meet the strict emissions standards of the waste incineration directive. The Environment Agency currently has no regulatory or compliance concerns regarding the performance of the South East London Combined Heat and Power incinerator and is not aware of any public health issues. Any potential effects on health would be a matter for the Environment Agency to assess in conjunction with the Health Protection Agency.

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Michael Ryan
Posted on 29 Jan 2013 2:17 pm (Report this annotation)

I've e-mailed my Member of Parliament (Daniel Kawczynski) about this very important today and have pasted in the entire text as follows:

Can you follow-up Lyn Brown's PQ about SELCHP incinerator (operated by Veolia)

Dear Mr Kawczynski,

Here's link to Ms Brown's PQ:

& here's link to Newham's infant mortality report which shows rise in rate (after SELCHP)
on the graph on page 11

Note on page 15 that Newham PCT (same boundary as Borough) had the highest stillbirth rate of
all PCTs in England.

Private Eye has stuck the knife into Veolia in the current issue (pages 14 & 30).

Mark Metcalf and Big Issue in the North have been key players in getting the Health Protection Agency
to promise a study into the link between infant mortality & stillbirths, which is also mentioned in Private Eye.

You're in a position to get the Shrewsbury incinerator stopped - even at this eleventh hour - as the "experts"
have been telling us that there are no adverse health from incinerators whereas the data consistently shows
otherwise. Professor Rod Thomson, of Shropshire County PCT swallowed the false opinion of the HPA:

I've pasted in the e-mail from Justin McCracken dated 11 May 2011.

Note that the Planning Inspectorate (Sarah Banwell works there) have failed to comply with my FoI request for the
evidence that hadn't been presented prior to or during the public inquiry into Veolia's appeal against refusal of
planning permission for the Harlescott incinerator in Shrewsbury - and yet had (apparently) persuaded the
Planning Inspector (John Woolcock) to write the following on 29 of his decision document.

Appeal Decision APP/L3245/A/11/2146219
Conclusions on health effects
100. On the third main issue, I find that the proposed EWF would have a low risk of harm to human health.

Mr Woolcock knew that the HPA hadn't checked any relevant data around any incinerator - as did the whole of the Planning Inspectorate
via incinerator public inquiries elsewhere.

Kind regards,

Michael Ryan

Subject: RE: Can you confirm that HPA have been shown to be negligent over incinerator issue?
Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 09:06:33 +0100
To: Michael Ryan

Dear Mr Ryan,

I am replying to your e-mails of 18 and 27 April 2011.

The HPA position on possible health effects of incinerators is clear. Modern well-managed incinerators make only a small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants. It is possible that such small additions could have an impact on health but such effects, if they exist, are likely to be small and not detectable. Our position is based on the latest scientific evidence as described in The Impact of Health Emissions to Air from Municipal Waste Incinerators – September 2009 available on the HPA website. It takes account of, and is consistent with, the views of the expert advisory committee, the Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumers Products and Environment.

It should be noted that modern waste incinerators are required to comply, as a minimum, with the provisions of the EU Waste Management Directive (2000/76/EC) which sets strict emission limits for pollutants for application across the European Union.

The Agency works, often in collaboration with others, to improve the evidence-base for health effects of environmental pollutants. In this respect I would draw your attention to our recently established world-leading National Nanoparticle Research Centre. As part of our on-going programme to improve evidence, we are in discussions with Professor Elliot’s group about a study on birth outcomes around municipal incinerators. This study would combine results from multiple incinerators, therefore having improved statistical power over studies on single incinerators.

The fact that the Agency is considering this study in no way should be taken as an indication that HPA feels that there is evidence for such health effects nor that the current evidence is insufficiently robust to support our position .

You have written to me about incinerators on a number of occasions and I have to date supplied you with all the information that the Agency has available.


Justin McCracken