HC Deb 30 October 2001 vol 373 c593W
Mr. Miller

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action has been taken in respect of allegations made by the "Newsnight" programme on 3 July concerning the dioxin content of ash used for construction from the Edmonton incinerator; and if she will make a statement. [11812]

Mr. Meacher

I am grateful for this opportunity to clarify the answers I gave on 11 July 2000,Official Report, columns 496–97W, and on 27 March 2001, Official Report, column 565W. Until August 2000, the Edmonton incinerator mixed bottom ash and precipitator ash. From August 1998 to May 1999, this mixed ash was reprocessed and used in the production of concrete building blocks. This ash has also been used as an aggregate.

As the reply to the first of these two questions said, neither the Department nor the Environment Agency routinely held information on the dioxin content of ash from incinerators. However, in July 1998 the Environment Agency was given an estimate of the dioxin content of the mixed ash, based on a 1997 analysis of the fly ash. I was not advised about this when I replied to the second of these questions and regret any consequent inaccuracy in my answer. I have written to both Members and have placed a copy of the letter and the analysis in the fax in the Library of the House.

The Environment Agency is currently carrying out a full and thorough investigation into the destination of ash from incinerators, the environmental implications of its use and what steps may be needed in the light of these findings. This thorough investigation will establish the true picture for all municipal waste incinerators. Its results will be made public and any necessary action will be taken.

Forward to