HC Deb 09 July 2002 vol 388 cc843-4W
Sue Doughty

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment has been conducted by(a) her Department and (b) the Environment Agency into the destination of waste from municipal waste incinerators; if she will place copies of this documentation in the Library; and if she will make a statement; [65624]

(2) which UK heat stations have supplied incinerator ash for construction; if she will list (a) the total amount of ash produced by each station and (b) the proportion of ash for each method of disposal or use; and if she will make a statement. [65622]

(3) if she will list those applications where incinerator ash, waste lime or dust was ultimately released to land by (a) site location, (b) year, (c) tonnage, (d) source and (e) end-use in 2001; and if she will make a statement. [65623]

Mr. Meacher

The Environment Agency has completed their investigation into the destination of ash from municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWIs). The Agency has accounted for all the solid residues produced between 1996 and 2000 by MSWIs in England and Wales. and has evaluated the environmental implications of the residues' use, including use in construction. It has also looked at what steps may be needed in the light of these findings.

Four municipal waste incinerators sent ash for processing with a view to its subsequent use in construction during the study period. Details of the total amounts of ash produced from each plant and the proportions sent for processing and landfill are in the table as follows (IBA--Incinerator Bottom Ash, ESP—Electrostatic Precipitator Ash):

Incinerator Total ash (1996–2000) in tonnes Proportion to landfill Proportion to processors
Teeside 212,000 IBA 67 33
Edmonton 717,000 IBA/ESP 70 30
Lewisham 577,000 IBA 59 41
Birmingham 343,000 IBA 79 21

The Agency's investigation, summarised in their report "Solid Residues from Municipal Waste Incinerators in England and Wales" has now been published and I will ensure that the hon. Member receives a copy of it. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of the House. It is also available on the Agency's website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk.

The Agency's investigation covered the period 1996 to 2000. The report itself lists annual tonnages of ash for the period covered by the investigation, and sites where MSWI residues were sent for disposal or reprocessing. Data on the end use of residues for 2001 are not available. Figures for 2001 for air pollution control residues will be available later in the year.

I have asked the Chief Executive of the Agency to contact the hon. Member in due course, to see whether she should require further information after having had the opportunity to consider the report.