A RASH of new incineration plants could be constructed across the UK following the approval this week of the country's biggest incinerator in south London after a 14-year planning struggle.
Experts claim that hundreds of councils will be revising their waste-management plans after the £200M Belvedere plant was given the green light.
Since 1992 the site has been through three applications and two public inquiries with protesters claiming that incineration causes cancer and global warming.
Only 12 energy-from-waste sites are operating in England and Wales. But 22 local authorities have plans to build incinerators (NCE 4 May) as the battle to find alternatives to increasingly expensive landfill hots up.
The government's latest waste strategy contains plans to increase the proportion of municipal waste burned to produce energy from 9% to 27%.
Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee chairman Lee Marshall said: 'If authorities are looking at building incinerators, they will be encouraged by the Belvedere decision.
'I think it would be good if more incinerator plans were put forward. There is a need for more waste facilities of all kind to meet landfill diversion targets.'
The ICE also welcomed the move towards incineration. Waste management board vice chairman Peter Gerstrom said: 'There are a number of authorities that know [an incinerator] would give them a cost-effective solution but have been hesitant due to the history of difficulty getting planning permission. If this decision puts some of that to bed, it's a good thing, ' he said.
Belvedere client Cory Environmental revealed there will be a competitive process for all stages of construction work on the site. Work is set to start before Christmas.