Greens celebrate incinerator ban

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Campaigners have won a landmark battle to stop one of the biggest incinerators in Europe being sited in London, throwing into doubt plans for more plants across the country.

Campaigners have won a landmark battle to stop one of the biggest incinerators in Europe being sited in London, throwing into doubt plans for more plants across the country.

After months of protests, the Government is set this week to announce that it has refused planning permission for an expansion of an existing incineration plant at Edmonton, north London.

The decision to turn down the plan raises a question mark over other plants subject to planning applications at Belvedere in south London, Guildford, Goole, Wrexham and Sheffield. The Government has ruled out a moratorium on incinerators, but Tony Blair said last year that the priority was to cut waste. Incineration was regarded as a less attractive option.

Nicky Gavron, the Labour deputy mayor of London, was delighted. She has campaigned against the development of the Edmonton plant, and hoped it would kill off the plan for the Belvedere incinerator. She said: "Any decision to turn down the proposal to expand Edmonton would be good news for the country. Edmonton is the largest incinerator in Britain and its expansion would go against policies for recycling, clean air and waste traffic reduction."

Britain produces 400 million tonnes of waste a year, and 28 million tonnes of household refuse that is mainly dumped in landfill sites. But with such sites filling up, it has left local authorities with a dilemma over what to do with the waste. Burning it in incinerators that generate heat appeared to be the solution, but there were health scares associated with dioxin emissions.

An EU directive has forced the Government to reduce waste production and find new ways of waste disposal. Michael Meacher, the Environment Minister, said it was vital to follow the landfill directive to divert biodegradable household waste away from landfill sites by maximising recycling and composting.

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