Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton
Minerals and Waste
6.78 Difficult waste is a general term covering a wide variety of waste types which, due to their nature or physical properties, can give rise to particular risks or nuisance. Special waste is defined in legislation. It is waste which is dangerous or hazardous and consequently subject to strict waste regulation controls in relation to its movement and disposal. Difficult and special wastes mainly arise from industrial processes. However, difficult waste also includes clinical (health care) waste, scrap metals and sewage sludge. In some cases difficult and special wastes contain materials that can be recycled or reused, such as oil, solvents and metals.
6.79 In 1992/93 arisings of special waste in Hampshire totalled approximately 25,000 tonnes. In the same year approximately 38,000 tonnes came into Hampshire for treatment or disposal and approximately 19,000 tonnes were exported from the County. Therefore, a total of approximately 44,000 tonnes of special waste were dealt with in Hampshire. Over 90 per cent of this was treated or disposed of at the chemical waste treatment and incineration plant at Charleston Road, Fawley. A small quantity of asbestos was disposed of by landfilling and the remainder was otherwise treated or recovered. The specialised and variable nature of the production of special wastes makes it difficult to predict future trends in arisings with any certainty. However, over the period 1990 to 1993 there was an increase of 60 per cent in disposals within the County.
6.80 Accurate data on arisings of difficult wastes is less easy to obtain because, unlike special waste, these types of waste are not clearly defined and their movement is not required to be notified to the Environment Agency. A survey for the year 1992/93 revealed that approximately 513,000 tonnes of difficult wastes were handled in Hampshire, about 63 per cent of which arose in the County. This waste comprised approximately 77 per cent scrap metal, 18 per cent solid wastes (mainly incinerator ash) and 5 per cent liquid wastes. The survey did not cover clinical waste treated by incineration or sewage and sewage sludge. Of the total of 513,000 tonnes surveyed, only about 94,000 tonnes (18 per cent) was disposed of in Hampshire. The remainder was handled at waste recycling, treatment and transfer facilities.
6.81 There are six basic methods that have been used in recent years for the disposal of difficult and special wastes in Hampshire:
(i) Spreading on agricultural land is used for some aqueous organic wastes such as untreated waste water (sewage) and sewage sludge. It is subject to control by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Where the waste is spread solely as a fertiliser or soil conditioner, planning permission is not required. The spreading of untreated sewage on agricultural land may be restricted in the future, in which case it will have to be dealt with at waste water treatment works. Whilst the disposal of untreated sewage on agricultural land is likely to be used less in future, the spreading of treated sewage in sludge or dry form is expected to increase.
(ii) Certain types of difficult and special waste can be disposed of by landfill or incineration following chemical, physical or biological treatment to make them less polluting or hazardous. Treatment facilities are specialised and often involve high costs and the environmental criteria which must be considered place major constraints on plant locations. Treatment plants, therefore, are usually either in-house facilities at the waste producer's premises or commercial plants serving a regional area. The Councils believe that there is currently adequate provision at existing facilities to cover requirements over the Plan period, but additional treatment facilities may be needed if restrictions are placed on other disposal methods such as co-disposal by landfill.
(iii) High temperature incineration is mainly used for the disposal of clinical (health care) waste, for which it is acknowledged to be the best method. This type of waste is considered in more detail in Paragraphs 6.85 to 6.88.
(iv) Chemical incineration is confined to certain types of organic special waste, for which it is regarded as the best environmental option. The only facility in Hampshire using this technique is the chemical incineration plant at Fawley. This plant is considered in more detail in Paragraphs 6.83 and 6.84.
(v) Co-disposal by landfill is the disposal of limited amounts of difficult or special waste (solid or liquid) by landfilling with household, commercial, or industrial waste in such a way that environmental benefit is intentionally derived from processes operating within the landfill site. It is only suitable for chemically compatible wastes at sites where there is no risk of water pollution. The only difficult and special wastes disposed of in this way in Hampshire are some liquids such as gully emptyings and road sweepings and small amounts of asbestos and filter contaminants. Landfill sites suitable for co-disposal are already scarce in Hampshire and are likely to become more so as the number of landfill sites declines. Wastes disposed of in this way may, therefore, in the future have to be dealt with at treatment plants or by disposal elsewhere.
(vi) Sea disposal was used for the disposal of sewage sludge by Southern Water. However, this practice has been discontinued and alternative means of disposal are now used. Sewage sludge is considered in Paragraphs 6.90 to 6.101.
Policy 47: The Waste Planning Authorities will grant planning permission for the handling, storage, treatment, processing and disposal of difficult and special wastes provided they are satisfied that:
(i) either the waste(s) concerned would arise largely within Hampshire or the facility would form part of a regional or national strategy for dealing with the waste(s) concerned to which the Waste Planning Authority has agreed; and
(ii) the proposed means of handling, storage, treatment, processing and disposal and the proposed facility are appropriate to the nature and hazards of the particular waste(s) concerned; and
(iii) the development would not be likely to cause unacceptable environmental, traffic or other impact.
Policy 48: Any proposals to extend or increase the capacity of the existing special waste treatment and incineration plant at Charleston Road, Fawley will be considered against the national and regional need for special waste treatment and incineration facilities and the environmental and safety implications of the proposed development.
6.82 The Councils believe that it is essential that there are adequate facilities available for the safe handling, treatment, processing and disposal of non-recycled difficult and special wastes arising within Hampshire. As far as is practicable and acceptable, this waste should be handled, treated, processed and disposed of within the County, in accordance with the aim of self-sufficiency. It is also essential that the methods of treatment and disposal used, and the facilities available, are appropriate to the particular waste types concerned and that there is no likelihood of pollution or other unacceptable environmental impact or danger being caused. The Waste Planning Authorities will, therefore, normally permit appropriate facilities that are necessary for the handling, storage, recycling, transfer, treatment, processing and disposal of difficult and special wastes at suitable locations provided that no unacceptable environmental, traffic or other impact or any pollution or danger would be likely to be caused. Any planning application for a waste disposal installation for the incineration or chemical treatment of special waste will be required to be accompanied by an Environmental Statement.
6.83 The Councils recognise, however, that certain types of waste require treatment and disposal at specialised facilities which can only be provided on a regional or national basis. Most of the special waste arising in Hampshire goes out of the County for treatment and disposal because suitable facilities do not exist within the County. On the other hand, significant quantities of special waste are brought into Hampshire for disposal at the chemical waste treatment and incineration plant at Fawley. This is a nationally important facility serving the South East Region and other parts of the Country.
6.84 Under Policy 47 the Waste Planning Authorities may permit difficult and special waste facilities serving an area wider than Hampshire where the facility would form part of a regional or national strategy to which the Authority has agreed. However, the Councils consider that Hampshire is already playing a very important regional and national role in the provision of facilities for special waste with the chemical waste treatment and incineration plant at Fawley. Therefore, the establishment of new sites for special waste treatment or incineration facilities to serve the South East Region or beyond will not normally be permitted. Nevertheless, the Councils believe that the best use of the specialised plant at Fawley should be made for the benefit of the nation. Therefore, any proposal to improve, extend or increase the capacity of it will be considered in the light of the national and regional need for this type of facility having full regard to the possible environmental and safety implications of such development. However, the Fawley plant also accepts wastes from outside the UK for disposal. The Councils are opposed to the import of such waste, although they have no power to prevent it.