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Incinerators: Hazardous Substances

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when consultations have taken place with incinerator operators on an eco-toxity test for incinerator bottom ash; (189838)

(2) what testing his Department has commissioned of the toxicity of incinerator bottom ash;

(3) what consultation he plans on the testing regime for incinerator bottom ash;

(4) what the timetable is for the introduction of the new test of toxicity for incinerator bottom ash.

I understand that the waste industry is taking forward an initiative to identify a protocol for the ecotoxicity testing of Incineration Bottom Ash (IBA). The initiative will use a direct testing method on IBA, where the validity of classification results from the desktop method remains uncertain. This uncertainty arises because of the potential for ecotoxic metal substances in IBA to exist as the metal or other non-ecotoxic form; something that the desktop analytical method cannot determine.

DEFRA and the Environment Agency support this initiative, considering that the classification of IBA will remain “non-hazardous” pending the results of the direct testing.

The Environment Agency will review this decision when results from direct testing have been provided. No consultation is planned by my Department on this issue.