Cooling the fires – Incineration subsidies to be phased out in the EU
Updated: Jul 16, 2021
EU Member States to phase-out subsidies for incineration.
Blow for burners : Incineration industry subsidies are set to go.
These revised provisions will bring the Circular Economy more into the fore of policy implementation, taking subsidies away from non-favoured practices.
Latest EU Policy : Member States shall grant no support for renewable energy produced from the incineration of waste, if the separate collection obligations set out in Directive 2008/98/EC have not been complied with.
Specifically it requires
that Member States to ensure that their national renewable policies, including support schemes, are designed with due regards to the principles of the waste hierarchy which favours reuse, re-cycling over disposal activities.
that Member States should fulfil their separate collection obligations in line with the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC), and
exclude renewable energy subsidies for waste incineration if this obligation has not been complied with.
Member States are also required to avoid support schemes that contradict the EU waste legislation obligations and Waste Hierarchy.
This means the focus is being increasingly brought on reducing the ‘black bin’ contents to zero if the higher level activities take place (avoidance, reuse, re-work, repair, re-cycle). Subsidies must be now targeted at the upper preventive layers rather than the discards. The result should be fewer incentives for landfill and Incineration activities – the disposal layers of the pyramid.
Policy clash with Ireland?
This is a stark and timely warning to us here in Ireland and our apparent flouting of the EU Circular Economy policy. The recent An Bord Pleanala (APB) (Case PA0045 – Ringaskiddy Incinerator) decision to overrule their own ABP Inspectors report comes to mind. The very experienced Inspector, Mr Derek Daly recommended refusal on 5 reasons. This followed two previous applications being similarly rejected for even more reasons by other Inspectors. However, by the time this development proceeds, assuming Emissions Pollution Licence will be granted by the Irish EPA, the subsidies will be a thing of the past and may render the 240,000 Tonne Incineration project uneconomic.
Zero Waste Ireland calls now on the Irish Government to promptly transpose the adopted EC safeguards so as to ensure compliance with EU legislation.
NOTES: excerpts from the final text agreed includes:
Article 3 (2a) – Member States shall ensure that their national policies including obligations deriving from Article 25 of this Directive and support schemes, are designed with due regard to the waste hierarchy, as set out in Article 4 of Directive 2008/98/EC, to aim to avoid undue distortive effects on the raw material markets.
Member States shall grant no support for renewable energy produced from the incineration of waste, if the separate collection obligations set out in Directive 2008/98/EC have not been complied with.