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Transparency when outsourcing waste incineration services

Question écrite de Mme Rosa D'AMATO - Commission européenne

Question de Mme Rosa D'AMATO,

Diffusée le 29 mai 2023

Subject: Transparency when outsourcing waste incineration services

Official notices are being widely disseminated to inform the public about the construction of ‘waste-to- energy plants’ or ‘incineration plants’. The notices specify that these types of plant serve to ‘close the waste cycle’.

For example, the Region of Sicily has published a call for tenders ‘to award a contract for the design, construction and subsequent management [of] up to two incinerators for energy recovery’.

The city of Rome has published a call for tenders for ‘a waste-to-energy plant with R1 status’.

This definition is not included among the terms used to describe the treatment of municipal waste either in Directives (EU) 2018/849, 2018/850, 2018/851 and 2018/852 or in Regulation (EU) 2021/241.

In light of the above, can the Commission say:

1) Which directives apply to these plants and what rules do they need to comply with, in particular with regard to Article 5a(1)(c) of Directive 1999/31/EC?

2) In light of the EFSA’s new guidance on the effects of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, as well as on other chemical substances classified as carcinogen categories 1 and 2, must the potential health impact of this type of plant be included in the environmental impact assessment, irrespective of the thermal energy output, the surrounding environment and the population affected?

Submitted: 30.5.2023

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 20 août 2023

Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius on behalf of the European Commission (21 August 2023)

1. Article 23 of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) (1) lays down that it shall be a condition of any permit covering incineration or co-incineration with energy recovery that the recovery of energy takes place with a high level of energy efficiency. The R1 regime under the WFD sets out the energy efficiency criteria which municipal waste incinerators and co-incinerators have to fulfil in order to qualify as a recovery operation (‘R1: Use principally as a fuel or other means to generate energy’). This regime differentiates those facilities from disposal operations in Annex I WFD and places them higher in terms of the waste hierarchy (2). According to Article 5a(1)(c) of the Landfill Directive (3) municipal waste that enters incineration disposal operations shall be reported as landfilled. These operations fall under the scope of Annex I of the WFD on disposal operation D10: Incineration on land. Waste that enters energy recovery operations (R1) is not to be reported as landfilled.

2. Waste incineration and co-incineration plants which meet the capacity criteria established in Annex I to the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) (4) are covered by Chapter II of the IED and have to be operated in accordance with a permit based on Best Available Techniques (BAT) (5). Emissions cannot exceed certain emission limit values and technical rules have to be complied with. Waste incineration installations (6) fall also under the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive and are mentioned explicitly in Annex I (point 9 and 10) of the directive (7). Member States must ensure that, before authorisation, projects likely to have significant effects on the environment are made subject to an EIA.

1 ∙ ⸱ Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives, OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3‐

30, as amended by Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May, OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 109‐140. 2 ∙ ⸱ Article 4 of Directive 2008/98/EC.

3 ∙ ⸱ Council Directive 1999/31/EC of 26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste, OJ L 182, 16.7.1999, p. 1‐19, amended by Directive (EU) 2018/850 of the European

Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018, OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 100‐108. 4 ∙ ⸱ Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control),

OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, p. 17‐119.

5 ∙ ⸱ As described in BAT conclusions (

6 ∙ ⸱ Points 9 and 10 of Annex I and point 11(b) of Annex II.

7 ∙ ⸱ Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on

the environment, OJ L 26, 28.1.2012, p. 1‐21, as amended by Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014, OJ L 124, 25.4.2014, p. 1‐18.

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