Conservatives promise to ban new waste incinerators from being built


London EcoPark, Edmonton Incinerator Power Station

The Conservatives have promised to prevent new waste incinerators from being built as part of their 2024 General Election Manifesto.

The policy was unveiled in the Conservative Manifesto, which the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launched at Silverstone today.

The Conservatives said they will revoke recent permit approvals for waste incinerators and those where substantial construction has not taken place.

In the manifesto, the Conservatives said the policy recognises the impact on local communities and that increased recycling rates will reduce the need for incineration capacity in the longer term.

Reacting to the pledge, CIWM’s Director of Innovation and Technical Services, Lee Marshall, said: “There needs to be a more comprehensive assessment of the current resources and waste infrastructure before any sort of ban on new facilities of any kind is brought in.

“The policy levers of Simpler Recycling, Extended Producer Responsibility and the Emissions Trading Scheme are complex, and we don’t want to find ourselves in a position where we have insufficient facilities.”

There needs to be a more comprehensive assessment of the current resources and waste infrastructure before any sort of ban on new facilities of any kind is brought in.

The Environment Secretary Steve Barclay has previously faced questions about whether he breached the Ministerial Code by trying to stop a waste incinerator being built in his constituency.

According to a BBC report, Barclay personally intervened to ask if a minister could stop waste incinerators being licensed in England.

Barclay made an urgent request to government lawyers the day after planning permission was granted to build the plant, the BBC reported.

The Ministerial Code requires ministers to ensure there is no conflict of interest with their role as a constituency MP.

The Environment Agency recently granted MVV Environment with a permit to build the Energy-from-Waste (EfW) plant in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.

Barclay said he was appalled by the decision and described the planned scheme as “deeply flawed”.

“Comprehensive action” promised on organised waste crime

waste crime

The Conservatives also said they will take “comprehensive action” to crack down on organised waste crime, especially criminals who impact protected nature sites.

The manifesto also pledged to deliver enhanced penalties for fly-tipping and give councils new tools to help tackle offenders.

Last year, as part of the UK government’s plan to tackle “anti-social behaviour”, Rishi Sunak promised to increase the upper limit on fines for fly-tipping from £400 to £1,000.

The Recycling Minister Robbie Moore has previously called on local authorities to hand out more fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to fly-tippers.

Earlier this year, the UK government awarded 26 local authorities a share of £1 million to support them tackle fly-tipping.

According to statistics released by the government for the 2022/23 year, local authorities in England handled 1.08 million fly-tipping incidents, a decrease of 1% from 1.09 million in 2021/22.

Commitment to a Deposit Return Scheme

deposit return scheme DRS

The Conservatives said they will continue to develop a “UK-wide” Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), while working to minimise the impact on businesses and consumers.

Earlier this year, the Environment Secretary told MPs the 2025 deposit return scheme (DRS) start date was “unrealistic” and 2027 was now “more likely”.

Steve Barclay also said the UK government would decline a request from the Welsh government for full exclusion from the Internal Market Act, which would allow them to collect glass as part of its DRS.

According to polling conducted for Reloop, 7 in 10 Britains support the introduction of a DRS.

Once the scheme was explained to respondents, Reloop said 77% of Conservative voters supported a DRS, 69% of Labour voters, and 71% of Liberal Democrat voters.

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