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End of error? Do we see that British policymakers are bidding farewell to waste incineration?

So far in 2020, there have been not one but two waste incineration debates held in Westminster Hall. On behalf of their voters, MPs have been opposed to burning. Our member UKWIN helped to stimulate the participation of parliamentarians through letter-writing activities, and supporters contacted their parliamentarians to urge them to participate in these debates. Voters have made suggestions on what they want to hear from their parliamentarians, and parliamentarians from many different political parties have obligations.

The anti-incineration activists are very happy to hear so many members of Congress oppose the incineration. For example, in the January debate, Stephen Dotty (Labor MP from Cardiff, Wales) pointed out: “There are many ways to deal with emissions from burner chimneys. However, given the climate crisis we are facing, the carbon emissions of such facilities Make a crucial distinction", this view is supported by Caroline Nokes (Conservative MP from Southampton), who believes:

"Allowing the spread of incineration simply cannot solve the climate emergency that we all agree to exist."

The climate argument was further developed in the second debate. Sharon Hodgson (Labor Party Member of Washington and Western Sunderland) pointed out:

“Of course, a technology that is expected to release millions of tons of carbon dioxide during the life expectancy of a gasification facility should not be supported by the government. In fact, this is in direct contradiction to the government’s policy on climate change and waste disposal. Tons of plastic, about two tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, which leads to climate change. On the contrary, one ton of plastic in landfills releases zero carbon dioxide, so incineration cannot and is not the solution we seek-it It must be recycled more".

The congressman continued to argue: "A recent study... found that 75% of commercial and industrial waste in Wales is recyclable when sent to incineration or landfills. With the recovery rate being flat, the government Will a tax on incineration be considered as promised in 2018 to combat climate hazards and encourage recycling? ...Of course, a landfill tax to prevent buried plastics that do not produce carbon dioxide would be counterproductive, but there is no levy on incineration of plastics Incineration tax, which will cause a lot of carbon dioxide.”

Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democratic Party Member of Bath) agreed, saying: "...We now know that we must reach net zero by 2050... We need to put all our efforts on a net zero solution. I believe Incentives and restraints are the way forward. I also support the idea of ​​imposing an incineration tax. The landfill tax has a huge impact on the transfer of waste from landfills; the incineration tax will ensure that we don’t just transfer all waste to the incinerator ".

The January debate ended with an explanation by the government minister: “The policy aimed at moving waste from landfills means that, in addition to recycling revenue, the amount of waste processed by waste-to-energy stations has also increased. However, of course , All measures in the waste and recycling strategy are aimed at reducing this situation."

The idea of ​​the British government's commitment to reducing the amount of materials used for incineration was adopted in a debate in February when Dr. Alan Whitehead, the Shadow Minister of Energy and Climate Change of the Labor Party, announced:

"In the overall policy, we must recognize that the era of incinerators is over... We must recognize that to upgrade waste levels across the country, we need resources to get rid of incineration... We are at a turning point. The future is net zero; It cannot be incineration".

Of course, if you don’t mention the adverse health effects, you can’t debate on incineration. Jane Hunter (Loughborough’s Conservative MP)’s comments captured the views of other MPs. She said: “Research shows that PM2. 5 The discharged incinerator can penetrate deep into our lungs and damage lung function. The Lung Health Task Force stated that “exposure to PM2.5 can cause asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other diseases.” Therefore, I agree with my colleagues’ concerns that incinerators may endanger the health of local residents.” The congressman continued to explain her special concerns about the construction of incinerators in her constituency because of the Olympic and Paralympic team athletes using nearby training facilities.” The air breathed per minute is 60 times more than that of ordinary people." , And people who are more prone to respiratory problems..."

In the second debate, 14 parliamentarians publicly opposed incineration, including demand for incineration tax, suspension of new incinerators, UNEP having more powers to better regulate incinerators, stricter emission standards than the EU requires, and greater attention to recycling . Specific incinerator proposals and facilities have been criticized along with industry drift, and anti-incineration campaigners have been praised for responding to the challenges of such technically complex issues.

Peter Grant (Scottish National Party Glenrothes MP) summed up the emotions among his colleagues:

"...For so many people, from so many different political perspectives, this kind of democracy must have failed. They came here and said,'No, we can't have this.' How do we achieve the planning framework, energy Where production supervision and all other aspects are out of touch with real people, should energy be created for their benefit?"

Activists were heartened to hear members of Congress praise local and national efforts to oppose waste incineration proposals. As Councillor Sharon Hodgson said: "I am proud to represent and work with people who have shown this determination and community spirit. Like them, I am opposed to planning applications and will speak in the appeal process starting next week. I am Special thanks also go to the UK No Incineration Network and Shlomo Dowen for their work and support for this sport.Without his expertise, we could not have come to this point..."

The British movement has been complimented and encouraged, and it is more determined than ever to hope to see the end of the British burning era, or should we say "the burning error"?


The transcripts of these two debates can be found on the UKWIN website here and here, and the full transcripts are provided here and here. Here or here is the official video.

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