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Waste Incineration

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's assessment that the Waste Incineration Directive does not apply to on-farm drum incinerators and waste oil burners; whether her officials have discussed this interpretation with officials from the European Commission; and whether officials from the European Commission have expressed agreement in writing with this interpretation. [122753]

In draft Guidance on Directive 2000/76/ EC on the incineration of waste, published for consultation in February 2003, the Government expressed the view that the definition of "incineration plant" used in that Directive is not intended to encompass small units or appliances which would be incapable of complying with the requirements of the Directive under any circumstances.The Directive includes provisions in relation to residence time, temperature control, monitoring, and compliance with emission limit values, which only plants of a reasonable size and technical sophistication would be capable of meeting. Small, basic units do not easily fit either the description "technical unit" which is used in the Directive definition or the scope of the incineration site which is evidently envisaged by this definition.The Government consider that units which are not included within the scope of the Directive on this basis include on-farm drum incinerators and small space heaters or other waste oil burners (used for example on garage premises). However, operations of this type will continue to be controlled under the Waste Framework Directive (75/442/EEC as amended) which requires them to be subject to either a permit (Article 9) or the general rules of an exemption registered with the "competent authority" (Article 11). The objective of these controls is to ensure that waste is disposed of in ways which protect the environment and human health (Article 4).This means that, on the proposed repeal of the exclusion for agricultural waste in section 75(7)(c) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the waste management controls of Part II of the 1990 Act and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 will apply to on-farm drum incinerators. Small space heaters and other waste oil burners are prescribed for local authority regulation under Part I of the 1990 Act and the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000.The draft Guidance on Directive 2000/76/EC was issued for a consultation period which closed on 16 May. Officials are currently considering consultation responses with a view to finalising the Guidance later this year, still in plenty of time for the Directive's coming into force for existing installations from 28 December 2005. A copy of the finalised Guidance will be sent to the relevant officials in the European Commission, thus providing them with an opportunity to comment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the impact on the environment of excluding (a) on-farm drum incinerators and (b) waste oil burners from the Waste Incineration Directive. [122760]

UK estimates of emissions from a range of sources are contained in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and are published annually. Full NAEI data are available at the NAEI website www.naei.org.uk. However, the NAEI does not contain data at the level of detail requested and so no correspondingly detailed quantitative assessment of the environmental impact of these devices has been made.The Waste Incineration Directive includes provisions which can apply only plant of a reasonable size and thus with potential to cause significant pollution, whereas small units such as these do not easily fit either the description "technical unit" used in the Directive definition or the scope of the incineration site which is evidently envisaged by this definition. However, operations of this type will continue to be controlled under other legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many tonnes of waste oil were sent for recycling in each year since 1999; [122761](2) how many tonnes of waste oil were burned in waste oil burners in each year since 1999. [122762]

Virtually all waste lubricating oil collected in the UK is treated to meet a specification as a recovered fuel oil and is burnt as fuel in coal fired power stations and other large manufacturing units.The last years for which figures for combustion of oil have been collated are 1999 and 2000 during which approximately 380,000 tonnes and 360,000 tonnes respectively of waste lubricating oil were burnt as fuel. 4,000 tonnes of waste oil were recycled into base lubricating oil in 1999. There has been no recycling in subsequent years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the impact on the environment of (a) on-farm drum incinerators, (b) waste oil burners and (c) on-farm carcass incinerators. [122763]

UK estimates of emissions from a range of sources are contained in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and are published annually. Full NAEI data are available at the NAEI website www.naei.org.uk. There are no data at the level of (a) and (b). However, the Department commissioned an independent report to measure and review atmospheric emissions from small carcase incinerators, which was published in August 2002. This is available on the Defra website at http://www2.defra.gov.uk/research/project_data/Default.asp under Project Code WA0806.