The Health Protection Agency has published its updated position statement, The impact on health of emissions to air from municipal waste incinerators.
After reviewing the latest literature the Agency's general position remains unchanged: Modern, well managed incinerators make only a small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants. It is possible that such small additions could have an impact on health but such effects, if they exist, are likely to be very small and not detectable.
New incinerator projects are being proposed throughout the country with the aim of reducing the UK's reliance on land-fill for municipal wastes. EU legislation has stimulated this major change in waste management strategy.
Concerns have been expressed about the air pollution risks posed by municipal incinerators and the Agency first issued a statement giving advice on health issues in November 2005. Since that time, more research has been carried on the possible air pollution risks posed by modern incinerators and the HPA has therefore issued a new position statement.
This statement was first published in September 2009 and has now been reproduced in the Documents of the HPA series of advisory documents for convenience of access and citation. The Impact on Health of Emissions to Air from Municipal Waste Incinerators - RCE 13
The HPA will review its advice in light of new substantial research on the health effects of incinerators published in peer reviewed journals. To date, the HPA is not aware of any evidence that requires a change in the HPA's position statement.
Incinerator Environmental Permit Applications
The HPA reviews each individual environmental permit application to ensure that the installation does not present a risk to public health.
Last reviewed: 18 April 2011