ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Michael Meacher has promised to double the amount of waste Britain recycles over the next three years in an attempt to reduce demand for landfill.
He told a fringe meeting that this would reduce the need for a massive waste incinerator construction programme.
'What we are committed to is doubling recycling in three years and trebling it in five, ' he said. 'Waste minimisation, recovery and re-use will account for most of our landfill reduction.'
Environmentalists had claimed that a major incinerator construction programme would be needed if Britain was to meet the terms of the European Union landfill directive.
'It's not the case that we will need up to 170 waste incinerators. Friends of the Earth are quite wrong to say this, ' he said.
But he went on to say that he was wrong to tell the House of Commons that there would be a planning inquiry for every proposed incinerator.
'It will be up to the secretary of state to decide if there will be a planning inquiry. If we were to allow it in every case it would gum up the process.'