Dr Julian Lewis: Is the Minister [Michael Meacher] aware that in Marchwood in my constituency a large incineration plant was closed down some months ago because of the unacceptably high emissions? Is he further aware that a state of the art, modern incineration plant is planned to replace the old one; and can he guarantee to me and my constituents that the emissions from the new plant will give no reason for concern?
[N.B. The Minister replied that he understood the concern about the local siting of incinerators, which relates mostly to the old generation of incinerators that were phased out as a result of an European Union directive in November 1996. He added: "We now have much tighter standards. Most concern is caused by dioxins; the current standard is no more than 1 nanogram per cubic metre, which means no more than 1 part in 1 billion. We know from studies by the Environment Agency that incinerators now give rise to no more than 4 percent of total dioxins, whereas 10 years ago that figure was 63 percent. We also support tightening those standards even further and we shall support an EU directive on waste incineration that will raise the dioxin standard tenfold."]