Proof of evidence required that the EA were povided with that proved to them that this development would not be harmful to anyone, either short or long term?

S. Jones made this Freedom of Information request to Environment Agency

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Environment Agency,

The EA granted a licence/permit to allow the burning of waste for the proposed new Biomass Incinerator within the Trafford area of Greater Manchester.

Please could you tell me how have the EA been satisfied by the developer that the incinerator will not be a risk to people's health at any time in the future, either short or long term?

Please could you provide the evidence the EA were provided with during this process, that they believe proved to them that emissions from the incinerator when fully functioning at full capacity will not cause harm to health of any person young or old, in the future either short or long term, that then led them to issue a permit?

Please could you provide copies of all expert opinions, all reports and other such documents provided that proved to the EA that emissions from the incinerator when built would not cause harm to health in the future at any point, and that has proven to the EA that the emissions are 100% safe?

Please could you provide proof that all such 'experts' whose opinions you relied on throughout the entire process, were checked to ensure that they were fully qualified and had the relevant up to date experience to give those opinions during this process and also in a court of law?

Does the EA uphold and adhere to the Precautionary Principle?

If yes, then please could you give examples of where, when and why you have used the Precautionary Principle when refusing a permit for any Biomass Incinerator?

Has the EA ever turned down a request for a permit/licence
for any Biomass Incinerator in the UK for any newly proposed incinerator or otherwise?

Is the stack height, which is considerably shorter than it should be and shorter than others are for the same process, be sufficiently high enough to disperse any emissions completely away from residents and such? Is this the correct and legal height of stack for a processing facility of this size and nature?

Yours faithfully,

Shirley Jones

Enquiries, Unit, Environment Agency

5 Attachments

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Enquiries, Unit, Environment Agency

Dear Ms Jones,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information enquiry.

Your email has been passed to our local customer team and they will be in touch with you shortly. The Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations state that a public authority must respond to requests for information within 20 working days. The latest date you can expect to receive a response from us is 26/03/2014. However, we aim to respond to all enquiries as quickly as we can.

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Should you wish to contact the customer team directly, please use the contact details below. Please quote your Enquiry Reference 140227/AR22 in any correspondence with us regarding this matter.

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NW Info Requests, Environment Agency

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Jones

 

Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) /
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)

Proposed Biomass Incinerator Greater Manchester

 

Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 26 February 2014
regarding the above.

 

Please find listed below your questions and our responses to each.

 

The EA granted a licence/permit to allow the burning of waste for the
proposed new Biomass Incinerator within the Trafford area of Greater
Manchester.

 

Please could you tell me how have the EA been satisfied by the developer
that the incinerator will not be a risk to people's health at any time in
the future, either short or long term?

 

The Applicant provided a comprehensive application detailing his process
and its impact on the environment and human health.  We also asked for
further information (see list of documents in section 4.3.6 of our
decision document).  Our assessment of the information provided to us is
detailed  section 5 ‘Minimising the Installation’s environmental impact’
of our decision document and Annex 4 for the responses from the relevant
health bodies.

 

Please could you provide the evidence the EA were provided with during
this process, that they believe proved to them  that emissions from the
incinerator when fully functioning at full capacity will not cause harm to
health of any person young or old, in the future either short or long
term, that then led them to issue a permit?

 

As above, review and consultation with health professionals is detailed in
the attached decision document. Copies of the response letters from these
organisations are available on the Public Register.

 

Please could you provide copies of all expert opinions, all reports and
other such documents provided that proved to the EA that emissions from
the incinerator when built would not cause harm to health in the future at
any point, and that has proven to the EA that the emissions are 100% safe?

 

Public Health England is the expert body on public health and as such it
is their responsibility to take an objective view in respect of the
evidence on health. Our role is then to act on their advice.

 

Please could you provide proof that all such 'experts' whose opinions you
relied on throughout the entire process, were checked to ensure that they
were fully qualified and had the relevant up to date experience to give
those opinions during this process and also in a court of law?

 

As mentioned we consult with the relevant government health experts to get
the best scientific advice on health. In this case the Health Protection 
Agency (now Public Health England). We also consulted with the Salford and
Trafford Primary Care Trusts.

 

Does the EA uphold and adhere to the Precautionary Principle?

If yes, then please could you give examples of where, when and why you
have used the Precautionary Principle when refusing a permit for any
Biomass Incinerator?

 

The precautionary principle has no application in this case:

 

The United Kingdom Interdepartmental Liaison Group on Risk Assessment
(UK-ILGRA) state in their paper “The Precautionary Principle: Policy and
Application” that the precautionary principle should be invoked when there
is good reason to believe that harmful effects may occur and the level of
scientific uncertainty about the consequences or likelihood of the risk is
such that the best available scientific advice cannot assess the risk with
sufficient confidence to inform decision making. The Health Protection
Agency, (Response to British Society for Ecological Medicine Report, “The
Health Effects of Waste Incinerators) say that “as there is a body of
scientific evidence strongly indicating that contemporary waste management
practices, including incineration, have at most a minor effect on human
health and the environment, there are no grounds for adopting the
‘precautionary principle’ to restrict the introduction of new
incinerators”

 

Has the EA ever turned down a request for a permit/licence  for any
Biomass Incinerator in the UK for any newly proposed incinerator or
otherwise?

 

No, because usually there is a solution which can deliver the necessary
protection. Our experience is that applicants are usually aware of the
relevant criteria they need to meet and technology needed to achieve the
limits and requirements of European legislation – if not then we ensure
requirements are met anyway. Furthermore, part of our assessment is also
to ensure that any local factors are considered so that the proposal does
not cause significant harm to health or the environment. For the Barton
application our assessment led us to set stricter limits for NOx than
those set out in the Waste Incineration Directive.

 

Is the stack height, which is considerably shorter than it should be and
shorter than others are for the same process, be sufficiently high enough
to disperse any emissions completely away from residents and such? Is this
the correct and legal height of stack for a processing facility of this
size and nature?

 

The height of the chimney stack is constrained by its proximity to Barton
Aerodrome.  Appropriate stack height is calculated in such a way as to
safeguard human health and the environment. Our impact assessment is given
in Section 5 of the decision document and shows that, with the chosen
stack height, the overall impact is insignificant.

 

I hope that we have correctly interpreted your request.  Please see the
attached Standard Notice or licence for details of permitted use.

 

We respond to requests for recorded information that we hold under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the associated Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

 

If you are not satisfied with our response to your request for information
you can contact us within 2 calendar months to ask for our decision to be
reviewed. 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Katie McAlinden

Customers and Engagement

 

Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else.

We have checked this email and its attachments for viruses. But you should still check any attachment before opening it.
We may have to make this message and any reply to it public if asked to under the Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act or for litigation. Email messages and attachments sent to or from any Environment Agency address may also be accessed by someone other than the sender or recipient, for business purposes.