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Waste Management: Energy

Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effects on public health of new energy from waste developments. (210360)

I have been asked to reply.

In 2004, my Department published an independent study on the health impacts from waste management—“Review of Environmental and Health Effects of Waste Management: Municipal Solid Waste and Similar Wastes”. The study was peer-reviewed by the Royal Society and concluded that the treatment, including the recovery of energy, from municipal solid waste,

“has at most a minor effect on health particularly when compared with other health risks associated with ordinary day-to-day living”.

In relation to incineration, it stated that,

“risks to human health from incineration are small in comparison with other known risks”.

This was supported in a more recent position statement by the Health Protection Agency on municipal waste incineration (November 2005),

“the weight of evidence from studies so far indicates that present day practice for managing solid municipal waste has, at most, a minor effect on human health and the environment, particularly when compared to other everyday activities”.