Peterborough burns more than half of the rubbish collected, figures show

New figures show the amount of waste being burned in Peterborough
New figures show the amount of waste being burned in Peterborough

More than half of Peterborough’s rubbish is burned, one of the highest rates of incineration in England.

Campaigners have called for a tax on incineration due to the amount of pollution it causes.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, 47,719 tonnes of rubbish was burned in Peterborough, according to the latest Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs figures.

That was 55% of the local authority’s waste. The vast majority was used as fuel to generate heat and electricity at specialist energy from waste power facilities.

Across England, burning rubbish is becoming more common. Now around 42% of the country’s waste is incinerated, compared to 30% three years earlier.

A cross party report, launched in July in the House of Lords, called on the Government to take oversight of the industry and introduce an incineration tax.

Research revealed that incinerators in England polluted more last year than a quarter-of-a-million lorries travelling 75,000 miles.

However, Libby Forrest, policy and parliamentary affairs officer at Environmental Services Association, said the wider use of incineration should be celebrated.

She said: “Energy from waste has increased because we are successfully moving away from landfill, which is more damaging to the environment.

“Energy from waste saves 200kg of CO₂ per tonne of waste diverted from landfill, and generates low-carbon power far more efficiently than landfill, contributing to renewable energy targets and energy security.”

The second most common way of disposing rubbish in Peterborough was recycling. In 2017-18, 37,546 tonnes of waste, 43% of the total, was recycled or composted.

The recycling rate in Peterborough has fallen slightly from 45% in 2014-15.

Waste dumped in landfills accounted for 2% of the total.

The Government wants half of all household waste to be recycled by 2020 nationally, and landfill to be reduced to 10% by 2035.

Shlomo Dowen, of United Kingdom Without Incineration Network, believes most of the waste that is incinerated could be recycled.

He said: “We need to stop burning recyclable material, and this means we need to stop building new incinerators.

“Separate collection of food waste should be accompanied by increasing the range of recyclable material collected at the kerbside, and Government needs to introduce an incineration tax to ensure that those sending waste for incineration pay the cost of the pollution they cause.”