HC Deb 26 June 1995 vol 262 cc453-4W
Mr. O'Neill

To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what effect he expects continued non-fossil fuel obligation support of mass burn energy from waste schemes to have on the Government's policy objectives for integrated waste management as set out in the national waste strategy; [30085]

(2) what assessment he has made of the potential contribution which will be made towards achieving the Government's renewables target by mass burn energy from waste technologies; [30235]

(3) what market intelligence he has regarding either the (a) size or (b) number of future mass burn energy from waste schemes in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement; [30086]

(4) if he plans to continue support for mass burn energy from waste technology in the fourth order of the non-fossil fuel obligation; [30084]

(5) what assessment he has made of the reasons for failure of those mass burn energy from waste schemes which were supported under the first three non-fossil orders; and what changes he is considering to the structure of future orders to ensure better success rates. [30087]

Mr. Page

Energy Paper No.62, "New and Renewable Energy: Future Prospects in the UK", set out the Government's renewable energy policy and summarised its strategy and programme to implement that policy over the next 10 years. Energy paper No. 62 estimated that energy from municipal and industrial wastes might contribute around 400 MW to the Government's aim of working towards 1,500 MW of new electricity generating capacity from renewable sources for the UK by the year 2000. The non-fossil fuel obligation in England and Wales, and similar arrangements in Scotland and Northern Ireland, are the Government's main instrument for creating an initial market for renewables so that in the not-too-distant future the most promising renewables can compete without financial support.

The Government have recently consulted on the structure of the fourth NFFO order and the Energy from Waste Association has provided market intelligence on potential future mass burn energy from waste schemes in the United Kingdom. I will take this information into account when the decisions on the structure of the NFFO4 are made shortly.

Energy from waste developments require planning permission and each application is determined on its own merits. The award of a NFFO contract is totally without prejudice to the planning process. Advice on planning issues is set out in planning policy guidance on planning and pollution control published in July 1994 and the annexe on waste combustion to planning policy guidance on renewable energy published in October 1994. The Department of Trade and Industry's renewable energy programme published a best practice guide for local authorities and private sector developers of municipal solid waste combustion projects in April 1995.

The Government are committed to issuing updated guidance to local authorities on tendering waste disposal contracts and this will reinforce the desirability of recovering energy from waste as part of a sustainable approach to waste management. The Department of the Environment and Welsh Office have recently consulted on a draft waste strategy for England and Wales and expect to publish a final version towards the end of the year. The targets and objectives set out in the waste strategy are to be achieved by a combination of mechanisms, including the proposed landfill tax and initiatives on producer responsibility for waste. These will contribute towards an integrated approach to more sustainable waste management practices which employ energy recovery alongside material recycling, in pursuit of the best practicable environmental option.