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Recycling claims for Incinerator Ash are severely hit

Recycling claims for Incinerator Ash are severely hit

Incinerator Ash as aggregate and fill is now disallowed from 1st October

The Env Agency has reversed its proposal in 2008 to permit the use of incinerator ash in ‘unbound’ applications. The Agency together with WRAP has set out to write a protocol for using the ash as base for car parks and fill in embankments. Now, under a Position Statement of 30 Sept. [1], unbound incinerator ash (and power station coal ash) is henceforth to be treated as ‘waste’ with special licensing for any operations/uses. This effectively cuts out over 80% of outlets for incinerator ash.

One embarrassing example of unbound ash used as fill was the 27,000 tonnes from Edmonton used in the construction of the Gerrards Cross tunnel [1]. After it all collapsed onto the railway line, the ash was shipped to a field in the Chilterns only a few metres from a local residents home [2]. No-one tested the local gardens for the obvious windblown contamination that resulted from the waste being left open for months.

Permitted uses as fill will require isolation from the ground. Because pulverised fuel ash (PFA) is available a-plenty for block manufacture, and incinerator ash is inferior and problematic [3], the latter can be counted out for block-making or similar bound construction materials

This change should mean that Authorities can no longer pretend that incinerator ash will find beneficial uses in construction; campaigners can now argue that as the ash is waste, proposers or operators should be required to include processes for minimising this waste.

The increased costs of incineration will hit existing plants; campaigners can check whether this counts as a regulatory change that may allow the incinerator company to raise their price to the contracting Local Authority, for this opens up publicity against the long PFI contracts that some Councils have been silly enough to sign.

[1] www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/Research/PS_030_PFA_bound...

[2] Gerrards Cross Railway Tunnel Hansard 23 January 2007, c433WH
[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/london/series11/week7_designer_homes.shtml

[4] Pera, J., L. Coutaz, et al. (1997). "Use of incinerator bottom ash in concrete." Cement and Concrete Research 27