PLANS TO make energy from waste incinerators easier for local authorities to approve and build were thrown out of the European Parliament on Tuesday.
MEPs rejected the revised EU Waste Directive that proposed that any plant producing more energy than it consumes when burning waste would be branded an 'energy recovery', rather than 'waste disposal', facility.
This change would have made it easier for plants to gain planning permission.
The directive will now go back to the Environment Council before a second reading in the European Parliament.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Conservative MEP Caroline Jackson said that the most energy-efficient plants would be more likely to be accepted by the public.
'The Directive has one key message for local authorities, ' she said. 'If you are planning an incinerator you need to understand the criteria and make plans to meet them.
'Some may have to redesign their incineration plants if they wish to rede ne them as recovery facilities.' Jackson added that the as yet undetermined criteria to establish a plant's classification would probably be so stringent that combined heat and power plants would be the only facilities likely to qualify.
The UK government also signalled its intent to tighten up the process under which local authorities apply for funding to back privately nanced waste facilities this week.
It is streamlining its waste private ance initiative (PFI) credit system so that from Monday, local authorities will only be able to apply for PFI credits once every six months.
PFI credits granted by government allow local authorities to commit to pay PFI operators over the length of multi-year concession arrangements.
'The previous Waste PFI system allowed local authorities to apply for credits at any time of the year, ' said a Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs spokesman.
'This made assessment of the relative contribution of each case to the overall PFI programme more difcult.'