Today marked the first sitting of oral parliamentary questions to Alok Sharma MP, President of the 6th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), due to be hosted by the UK in Glasgow later this year.
With controversial plans for an incinerator at Westbury in mind, local MP Andrew Murrison asked the government whether the summit will provide an opportunity to debate energy from waste (EfW), adding:
“In this COP presidency year, surely we should be doing nothing that will encourage old-style incinerators that pump effluent into the great landfill in the sky in places like Westbury.”
Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan responded:
“I will pass it on (Dr Murrison’s concern), particularly in terms of UK leadership, to the Minister for the Environment. The work that we have done already in the Resources and Waste Strategy is leading the way and we are looking to eliminate all avoidable waste by 2050.”
The Strategy outlines plans to create greater efficiency from EfW and ensure that ‘all future EfW plants achieve recovery status’. NRE already has permission for a gassification plant at Westbury based on cleaner technology.
A second strategy – cited earlier in proceedings by Alok Sharma – is the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. Under this, the government sets out plans to increase energy from low carbon hydrogen.
On these points, Dr Murrison comments:
“Northacre’s proposals for a moving grate old-style incinerator fall well short of being efficient, a recovery facility, or low carbon hydrogen fuelled – as the government’s strategy rightly demands.”
Today’s events and Dr Murrison’s comments came days after the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, refused permission for a 390,00 tonne EfW facility in North Kent. The firm were instead permitted to increase output at an existing site in the same area by 100,000 tonnes.