Waste incineration proposals lead to heated debate

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Series Details Vol 7, No.16, 19.4.01, p17
Publication Date 19/04/2001
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Date: 19/04/01

THE bid to classify waste incinerators as a 'renewable' energy source has enraged green groups and split industry.

Greenpeace says a proposal by EU governments for the term to include biodegradable waste such as paper, food and other organic refuse would clear the way for subsidies to health and environment-damaging incinerators.

Lorenzo Consoli, a spokesman for the charity, said: "Whatever you remove from the smoke, you find in the ash dioxins, heavy metals and other highly toxic materials and the only thing you can do with that is dump it in landfills."

In a letter to Energy Commissioner Loyola de Palacio, the group said boosting waste incineration would lower innovation in renewable power such as wind, wave and solar.

They added it would undermine recycling and plans to increase 'biogas' - composting biodegradable waste.

And some waste management firms, represented by industry body FEAD, say incineration should qualify for aid to renewables.

But ASSURRE, a coalition including waste firms, local governments and manufacturers, rejects this approach.

Its managing director Bill Duncan hopes to see legislation recognising incineration as an alternative to fossil fuels. "It's intellectually unacceptable to describe waste incineration as renewable - but if we're serious about climate change and security of supply, incineration has a role to play."

Article forms part of a survey on the environment.

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