The government this week ruled out relaxing restrictions on the use of outputs from waste treatment technologies in its revision of waste management licensing regulations.
Local authorities and waste experts expected that the new regulations would relax the rules on the residue of Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) plants from being spread on agricultural land. But environment minister Ben Bradshaw said the restriction would remain in place as a temporary safeguard against the landspreading of sub-standard wastes to agricultural land to protect the environment and human health.
He added: “I have, however, asked my officials to carry out further work to find a longer-term, more sustainable solution that will encourage the development of technologies, which will produce high standard outputs which could be safely spread to land.”
Experts said this could push local authorities to opt for incineration as a waste treatment technology
Mouchel Parkman projects director Steve Godman said: “Twelve major local authorities are hoping to get Defra PFI credit approval in the next 18 to 20 months and then come to the market.
“If the news from Defra had been different that may have added further strength to the idea that MBT is better than incineration.”
MBT uses several processes to separate waste into its constituent parts to maximise recycling.
(Source: New Civil Engineer, 12 October 2006)