HC Deb 13 July 1989 vol 156 cc627-8W
Mr. George Howarth

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in the event of planning appeals arising out of the refusal of local authorities to grant planning consent for municipal, chemical or hospital waste incinerators, he will make it his policy to take into account local public concern over such proposals and the findings of the interdepartmental working group report "Dioxins in the Environment", and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope

Section 29 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 requires those who decide planning applications to have regard to the provisions of the development plan, so far as material to the application, and to any other material considerations. My right hon. Friend and his planning inspectors are subject to the same requirement in relation to appeals. Accordingly, in deciding planning appeals inspectors can take account of a wide range of evidence, including expressions of local opinion, providing it relates to material land-use planning considerations.

Mr. George Howarth

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in the light of the recent report from the interdepartmental working group on polychlorinated dibenzo-par-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzo-furans entitled "Dioxins in the Environment", he will now consider introducing stricter planning and operational controls on municipal, chemical and hospital waste incinerators; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

On planning controls I refer the hon. Member to the reply to his earlier question today.

As for operational controls, new regulations came into effect on 31 March this year bringing all incinerators capable of burning waste at a rate of 1 tonne per hour or more under the control of the national air pollution inspectorates. These inspectorates already controlled all chemical waste incinerators. We have recently agreed within the European Community two directives on prevention of air pollution from new and existing municipal waste incinerators. These directives specify combustion conditions which take particular account of the need to minimise emissions of dioxins and furans. The Department has also recently drawn up, in consultation with the Department of Health, draft guidance on incineration of clinical waste which includes combustion conditions designed to minimise dioxin and furan emissions.

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