NIC Wants To Ban Waste-To-Energy Plants Without CCS In UK

NIC Wants To Ban Waste-To-Energy Plants Without CCS In UK - Carbon Herald

A new report by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) urges the UK government to end all new long-term contracts for waste-to-energy plants that are not equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. 

Furthermore, the NIC also suggests phasing out all existing waste-to-energy plants that are not capturing their own CO2 emissions when possible.

The NIC progress report is an overall call for the government to revamp its waste management strategy, where some of the main points are to reduce reliance on burning waste. 

In addition to ending and phasing out contracts, the commission also implores the UK government to act on its commitment to add waste-to-energy (WtE) plants to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from 2028 onwards.

The report also highlights the need for improved waste collection and packaging systems. This includes setting clear recycling targets and providing support to local authorities. 

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The NIC also suggests expanding the ban on single-use plastics to encompass other difficult-to-recycle plastic items.

The NIC believes these changes are crucial for the UK to reach its net zero emissions target. 

According to its progress report, burning waste without carbon capture creates greenhouse gasses, and stagnant recycling rates hinder progress on waste reduction goals. 

By making recycling more attractive and incineration less so, the UK can move towards a more sustainable waste management system, the NIC argues. 

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In response to the report, Jacob Hayler, Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association, said: “We have been supportive of proposals to include EfW [energy-from-waste] in the ETS, subject to design and timings of other policies to ensure a level playing field, but after the proposals were published in 2023, our industry still awaits further consultation over the detail nearly a year later.

“This has prevented government officials from meaningfully engaging with industry – further shortening the already tight implementation timelines and adding to a growing nervousness across the sector as a result of this uncertainty.

“If the NIC’s recommendations set out a longer-term direction of travel for EfW, in the nearer term the UK must boost plastic recycling in order to decarbonise. We cannot be without safe, reliable, residual waste treatment infrastructure without building capacity in alternative solutions.”

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