Waste incinerator sites review completed

Environmental permits for Wales’ large waste incineration sites have been reviewed and updated by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to ensure the sites are performing to the highest environmental standards.

The exercise  involves reviewing permits against the latest industry best practice, called Best Available Techniques (BAT). It is a requirement of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and ensures that industry continue to use the best techniques for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment.

These techniques could include the technology used and the way an installation is maintained, operated and decommissioned.

Holly Noble, Permitting Team Leader from NRW said:

“Our environmental permits set conditions for how a facility must operate and limits emissions to the environment – but that’s not where the process ends.
“Not only will each site be closely regulated by our officers, but they also have to stay on top of the latest technological developments and strive towards improving their environmental performance.
“In some cases, this requires companies making significant investment in their infrastructure, which we appreciate may not be easy during such uncertain times, but it’s an important exercise for us to complete, allowing us to drive improvements in the industry and bring all waste incineration sites up to a consistent level across Wales.”

Wales has five waste incineration sites, including two municipal waste incinerators, two biomass incinerators  and a clinical waste incinerator, and each one will have to meet tighter limits on pollutant emissions as well as additional monitoring following the review.

Across all sites the emission limit for particulate matter has been reduced by 50%, at the two municipal waste incinerators the new mercury emission limit secures a 60% reduction, and at one site the limit for oxides of nitrogen has been tightened by 55%.

Through an improvement condition added to all permits, operators are now required to investigate the reduction of oxides of nitrogen beyond the BAT limit and all sites are required to implement new management plans in relation to abnormal, start-up and shut-down operations.

Overall, the new conditions ensure that the permits for this sector continue to be an efficient regulatory tool, driving ongoing future improvements.