To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 December 2017 to Question 117198, on Incinerators, for what reason the UK's on-stream incineration capacity is underused compared with the permitted capacity; and for what reason there is a similar difference in the East of England.
The Environment Agency’s latest Waste Management in England Statistics show that 11.64 million tonnes of waste were incinerated in England in 2016, compared to a permitted capacity of 15.48 million tonnes. For operational incinerators in the East of England only, those figures were 1.19 million tonnes incinerated compared to 1.42 million tonnes of capacity.
There are several reasons for the difference between throughput and permitted capacity. The permitted capacity relates to the waste managed at the site and not the actual throughput of the facility as the site might have more than one processing facility. Throughput will also vary depending on the wastes heat value, its composition, the maintenance regime of the facility and the delivery of waste from clients. To allow for these variances permitted capacity is normally higher than the actual processing capacity. It would not be financially viable for plants to run under capacity.