New chairman says ash could be recycling rate answer

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ASH that comes out of the bottom of incinerators could help the county to reach its recycling rate target, according to the new chairman of Hampshire’s waste partnership Project Integra.

Councillor Sean Woodward, who is also executive member for environment at Hampshire County Council and leader of Fareham Borough Council, was appointed as Project Integra’s chairman yesterday.

He vowed to challenge the government on key issues such as landfill rates and recycling targets.

He wants to see the criteria changed so that incinerator bottom ash (IBA) is counted towards recycling rates as it is in other countries.

IBA is left at the end of the energy recovery process and it is used as a building aggregate, such as in laying roads.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘In Hampshire, IBA is processed and reused, it doesn’t go to landfill. It should therefore be classed as recycling.

‘I want the government to give us a level playing field with the rest of the UK and Europe, and a fighting chance to meet our targets. We estimate England’s recycling rate would increase by five per cent if IBA is included.’

His views were echoed by councillor Leslie Keeble, from Fareham Borough Council, who said that counting IBA would see Hampshire’s recycling rate increase to 48 per cent from 34 per cent.

Cllr Keeble, former chairman of Project Integra, has been lobbying for the change for the past two years.

He said: ‘We need to be playing by the same rules.’

Project Integra is made up 11 district and borough councils, Southampton and Portsmouth councils, Hampshire County Council and Veolia.