Incinerator Contributions to Local Concentrations of Air Pollutants

Public Health England Nid oedd gan y wybodaeth y gofynnwyd amdani.

Dear Public Health England,

I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and/or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

The Public Health England (PHE) guidance statement on modern municipal waste incinerators (MWIs) study updated 15 October 2019 states:

“This view is based on detailed assessments of the effects of air pollutants on health and on the fact that these incinerators make only a very small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants.”

The same sentence was published in the PHE statement on 8 September 2009.

My information request relates to the second part of the above sentence that "the fact that these incinerators make only a very small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants". None of the numbered points in the 2009 statement show the relative size of the incinerator contributions of air pollutants to local concentrations of these air pollutants (from all sources), so the 2009 statement (and also the 2019 statement) does not include sufficient evidence to show that the incinerator contribution of air pollutants is "very small"  compared to local concentrations.

1. Paragraph 16 of the 2009 statement references "Environment Agency (2009). Health Effects of Combustion Processes – A Modelling Study (in press)."  Please provide this document(s) if held or any other information PHE holds about this modelling study.

2. Please provide all the evidence held by PHE (or website references to that evidence if freely accessible on public websites) that support (or refute) the 2009 and 2019 statement that “incinerators make only a very small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants”.  Since such evidence requires consideration of the level of air pollutants from incinerators relative to the local concentrations of these air pollutants (from all sources), it is only necessary to include information held that shows this relative contribution. Information on the absolute local levels of particular air pollutants from incinerators is only relevant if the relative contribution to the local concentrations of the particular air pollutants has also been determined. It is also only necessary to show all incinerator air pollutants that are known to have (or may have) adverse health impacts. If the quantity of relevant information on an air pollutant held by PHE is too great to include it all, please show the most relevant information and state/summarise what other information is held by PHE.

3. If the information held in relation to question 2 above is specific to particular waste incinerators, please provide all information held that shows the measurements/research done for each pollutant is statistically adequate to justify a generalisation to all well run waste incinerators regardless of:

a) incinerator technology,
b) incinerator pollution abatement techniques,
c) types of feedstock,
d) the quantity of waste processed per annum,
e) the incinerator stack height, and
f) local background pollution levels.

Please provide information held showing that the statistical significance is adequate for the generalisation to be considered a "fact".

If any of the above information is not held by PHE, but if PHE believes the data to be held elsewhere, please state who, in PHE's understanding, holds the above data.

Please provide this information by email.

If you have any queries concerning my request, please contact me via email and I will be very happy to clarify what I am asking for.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

D Mudge

FOI, Public Health England

Dear D Mudge

We acknowledge receipt of your email and request for information, which will be treated as a request for information under statutory access legislation.

Please note that requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) will receive a response within 20 working days from the day following the date of receipt of your request.

If the request is for your personal data, your request has been handled as a data subject access request (SAR) under Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), then we will respond within one month of the receipt of the request.

Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for providing guidance and advice to government and front-line services for all aspects of public health. It is a designated Category 1 responder organisation under the Civil Contingency Act and this specifically includes the COVID-19 response, providing clinical expertise and wider public health advice and guidance across national and local government, the NHS and third sector. As such, you may experience delays when making statutory information access requests during the pandemic.

We will aim to address all requests promptly and within the required response timeframes. However when we are unable to meet the response timeframe we will keep requesters updated on a revised expected timescale for a response to their request. The Information Commissioner recognises this position in its recent guidance, see link: https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protectio....

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI, Public Health England

1 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    2167 EIR Questions on PHE guidance statement on modern municipal waste incinerators study.pdf

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OFFICIAL
Dear D Mudge

Please find attached Public Health England's response to your request.

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir