CARLISLE campaigners have welcomed the UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) decision to temporarily halt issuing environmental permits for new waste incineration facilities. 

The decision applies to proposed developments in England that do not yet hold an environmental permit for waste incineration.

The pause took effect on April 5 and will last until May 24, but could be withdrawn earlier.

During the halt, Defra officials will investigate the role of waste incineration in managing residual wastes in England.

In 2022/23, nearly half of the waste collected by local authorities in England was sent for treatment at waste incineration facilities.

Currently, a planning application for a new gasification waste plant at Rockcliffe is open for public consultation, with campaigners citing environmental and 'transparency' concerns within the application process.

Government rules imply that if the incinerator goes ahead, it would be regulated by the council rather than the Environment Agency.

Although the proposed Rockcliffe plans, which have seen large vocal opposition aren't directly included in the temporary restriction, local campaigners remain hopeful.

David Mudge, spokesperson for Carlisle Residents Against Incinerator (CRAIN), said "It is good to see the government taking action to stop more incinerators.  

"The government must have realised more incinerators would cause more harm.

" Why else would they be saying stop?  

"If another incinerator would be bad for England then it would be bad for Rockcliffe.  The council must say no to the Rockcliffe incinerator. "

Tom Adams, Carlisle and District Green Party spokesperson said: "It is time for a complete overhaul in waste management policy that takes the circular economy seriously, rather than relying on quick fixes like incinerators."

The moratorium also does not stop the highly controversial Kingmoor incinerator, which was approved after 'errors' by the council and the Environment Agency.

The Office for Environmental Protection is still assessing whether the Environment Agency failed to comply with environmental legislation. 

Shlomo Dowen, national coordinator of the UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), expressed optimism, stating: "We are witnessing the start of what we hope will be a comprehensive moratorium on new waste incineration capacity in England."

He highlighted that similar moves in Wales and Scotland had resulted in substantial increases in recycling rates.

A Defra spokesperson said: "We are committed to reducing waste, improving recycling and meeting our net zero ambitions by sending less waste for incineration.

"We must make sure we have the right waste management infrastructure to meet these goals and are rightly considering the need for more waste incineration facilities.

"While this work is ongoing, we have temporarily paused granting permits for new waste incineration facilities."