5 April 1996

UK incinerators cannot cope

INCINERATION capacity in Britain cannot cope with any cattle slaughter policy and government must set up a working party to consider carcass disposal, warns the Institute of Waste Management.

Measures to restore public confidence in beef vary from the total cull of the 11.8m head national herd to the cull of about 800,000 cattle a year at the end of their working lives. But no one has considered the safe, hygienic disposal of carcasses, says IWM. And whatever option is undertaken the numbers will be far higher than the industry can cope with.

The proposal to cull animals at the end of their working lives would present about 15,000 cattle a week for disposal. But Britain has fewer than 20 specialist animal incinerators in the country, generally used for pets, with a total capacity of 1000 carcasses a day.

Municipal incinerators offer only limited capacity and carcass burning would displace other waste. "The present number of municipal incinerators is declining, due to not meeting higher emission standards. And most arent suitable for burning large carcasses," IWM says.

Large scale open burning of cattle on farms could create further concern and could not be guaranteed to be safe or hygienic. But this is the most likely option, it adds.

The waste management industry must be consulted, IWM insists, before any decision on culling is taken. &#42