EU waste incineration row set to resume

MEP to call for tighter standards on cement kilns, removal of NOx derogations for incinerators

The European Parliament's rapporteur on the draft EU waste incineration directive is to renew attempts to strengthen European controls on waste burning in cement kilns, ENDS Daily has learned. Dutch Calvinist MEP Hans Blokland will present his recommendations for the assembly's second reading opinion on the directive next week.

The central argument over the "co-incineration" of waste in cement kilns is emissions limits for nitrogen oxides (NOx). Mr Blokland will call for a proposed 800 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/m3) NOx limit to be reduced to 500mg/m3. He will also propose to reduce maximum dust emissions by two-thirds to 10mg/m3 and to introduce a new ammonia limit of 10mg/m3.

The European Commission and the cement industry believe that emissions limits for cement kilns agreed by EU environment ministers at first reading are already challenging. But Mr Blokland argues that some kilns in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands already meet tougher targets. He is not challenging a temporary derogation for the dirtiest "wet-process" kilns, but says the 1200 mg/m3 NOx limit allowed for these plants should revert to the lower limit at the end of 2006, not 2007 as agreed by ministers.

At first reading, ministers also agreed to set new emission standards for dedicated incinerators burning hazardous and non-hazardous waste (ENDS Daily 25 June 1999). A 200 mg/m3 NOx limit was agreed, but member state pressure secured substantial derogations; plants with a capacity of up to 6 tonnes per hour (t/hr) will have a 500 mg/m3 limit until 2008, and those up to 16t/hr and 25t/hr a limit of 400 mg until 2010 and 2008 respectively.

Mr Blokland will call on MEPs to remove the derogations, and also to lower the capacity threshold below which incinerators will be subject to a weaker emission limit of 400 mg/m3. Other proposals to be made by the rapporteur include changes in the directive's scope to exclude pulp and paper plants burning their own waste and tighter emission monitoring rules for dioxins and furans.

Last year a row over whether hazardous waste incinerators should be subject to the new NOx limits was solved by including them but granting a derogation from emissions standards until 2007 (ENDS Daily 11 May 1999).

Follow Up:
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111; Mr Blokland's party website.

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