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The UK Government plans to halve the amount of waste going to landfill or incineration in England by 2042. In light of this, UKWIN has produced a briefing to explore the case that England should follow Wales and Scotland in saying no to new waste incineration capacity in order to support recycling, decarbonisation, and the circular economy.

The research shows that there is currently 15.6 million tonnes of operational incineration capacity in England. This could grow to more than 27 million tonnes, while feedstock is expected to fall to around 13 million tonnes by 2042. This would result in around 14 million tonnes of English incineration overcapacity (as per the above chart), even without any of the further 4 million tonnes of capacity currently in the planning system being granted permission. An immediate moratorium would cap English incineration overcapacity at around 8.5 million tonnes. 

More than 124,000 signed the petition from Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic’s ‘Big Plastic Count’ calling on the UK Government to “ban new incinerators being built”. Following on from this, UKWIN has launched a ‘write to your MP’ campaign calling for MPs to support an immediate moratorium on the granting of planning and permitting consents for incinerators until the UK Government has completed the assessment of residual waste treatment capacity recommended by the Climate Change Committee.

To support the circular economy, both Wales and Scotland have already called a halt to further incineration capacity. A moratorium on new incinerators in England would send a clear signal that investment should target reduction, reuse, and recycling.

UKWIN’s National Coordinator Shlomo Dowen

Briefing and Methodology

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