The all-party parliamentary group on air pollution has suggested England “should” adopt Wales’s controversial moratorium on new energy-from-waste plants.
In a report issued today, the group’s chair and Swansea West MP Geraint Davies backs the Welsh government’s policy, which was first revealed in March.
However one EfW developer, Broad Energy, has branded Wales’s policy “unlawful” and said it should be given no weight in the planning process.
According to Davies’ foreword in the report: “In Wales, current recycling levels are much higher than the targets in England (for example, 64% achieved in Swansea) and the Welsh government has imposed a moratorium on new large-scale waste incinerators.
“This approach should be extended to England to stop the growth of burning and its pollutants. Government action is needed to confront the single-use culture both for plastics and other materials.”
Later on the report itself states: “We need a moratorium on additional incineration capacity. Capacity is expanding too quickly.”
The report also includes suggestions by former Eunomia chair Dr Dominic Hogg, which include requiring EfW plants to be covered by the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, something a legal challenge against the UK government failed to secure earlier this year.
Hogg says a fiscal measure would counter “the imbalance created by the landfill tax… and create a more level playing field to help incentivise local authorities to be more ambitious with their targets for reuse and recycling”.
Davies does reserve praise for the development of a replacement EfW plant in Edmonton in north London, which is being taken forward by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA).
He states: “I am very grateful to the NLWA for presenting their plans, which make every effort on the basis of known technology to minimise health and climate impacts from burning waste, for example through selective catalytic reduction to reduce NOx emissions.”
The contract for the new facility is due to be awarded this week, although one local authority has questioned the need for the project and the level of ambition of its carbon capture technology.
The new report also states solutions for carbon capture technology “are yet to materialise”.
Last month Scotland began an investigation into its waste capacities, which could lead to it also introducing a moratorium on new EfW plants. Its government also called for all new applications to be referred to it as the investigation was carried out.