HC Deb 21 June 1995 vol 262 cc346-8
20. Mr. Bennett

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the burning of secondary liquid fuel in cement kilns. [28046]

Mr. Atkins

I wrote to the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) on 13 June welcoming the Select Committee's initiative on burning SLF in cement kilns. I said that the existing controls are sufficient to regulate cement kilns and SLF.

I can assure the House that the trials are strictly controlled and that Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution will stop any which endanger the environment. Permanent burning will be allowed only if HMIP is satisfied that the environment will not be adversely affected.

Mr. Bennett

Does the Minister accept that people who live close to cement kilns have suffered for a long time from pollution from the dust and that they are now extremely worried about the possible effects of burning this new fuel? Would it not be far better to reassure them by ensuring that the trials are short-lived and that no permanent permission for burning this new fuel will be given unless the same conditions apply as those for burning waste?

Mr. Atkins

My hon. Friend the Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) has been particularly involved in pursuing me on a matter affecting his constituency directly, and the hon. Gentleman and the Select Committee have asked similar questions. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his Committee's report and, as he will know, I am in full agreement with some of the things that he said. The trials that are going on are being conducted by HMIP, which is a highly regarded and internationally renowned organisation. I must await its advice before I make any decisions.