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Volume 506: debated on Thursday 4 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's policy on mass-burn incineration of household waste is. (319619)

Government policy is to manage waste as far up the waste hierarchy as possible—with energy from waste ranking higher than landfill but below waste prevention, re-use, and recycling. The Government's view of incineration and similar technologies is that they form just one among several approaches, all of which are needed for sustainable and effective waste management.

It is recognised that there will always be some waste streams that cannot be re-used, recycled or composted and recovering energy from that waste, including by incineration, results in less greenhouse gas emissions compared to the alternative of landfill. Producing energy from this waste, which would otherwise have gone to landfill, not only contributes to reducing carbon emissions, but also counts towards our renewable energy targets by displacing fossil fuel power generation.

The choice in technology needs to reflect local circumstances, with reference to the relevant waste strategies and plans, so that proposed waste incineration plants are of an appropriate type and scale and do not prejudice the achievement of local, regional or national waste management targets.