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An update on UK incinerator rules

By Defra, Edited and Published by the NPA - If your incinerator is used only for pigs/poultry and it has a capacity of less than 50kg an hour the following rules apply. This is a summary distilled from the latest advice from Defra.
calendar icon 15 February 2004
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Type Approval

Your incinerator must be designed, equipped, built and operated in such a way that the gas resulting from the process is raised in a controlled and homogenous fashion, even under the most unfavourable conditions, to a temperature of 850C, as measured near the inner wall or at another representative point of the combustion chamber as authorised by the competent authority, for two seconds. If you are buying a new incinerator you can ensure compliance by checking it has Type Approval.

Transition period

The State Veterinary Service is responsible for inspecting and approving your incinerator.

If it was in operation before November 2002 it can be used until next January before it needs to comply with the new incinerator rules.

If your incinerator is newer than November 2002 it must comply with the rules now.

During the transition period you must take all necessary measures to ensure that:

Animal by-products are handled and stored safely and incinerated without undue delay in such a way that they are reduced to dry ash.

Records are kept of the quantity and description of the animal by-products incinerated (i.e. the numbers incinerated) and the date of incineration.

The dry ash is disposed of properly.

The ash is not removed from the combustion chamber unless combustion is complete. Transport and intermediate storage of the ash must take place in closed containers to prevent dispersal in the environment.

In the case of a breakdown or abnormal operating conditions, you must reduce or close down operations as soon as practicable until normal operations can be resumed.

Either way, check that your local authority is content that your plant is operating at under 50kg/hour and is therefore a low capacity plant.

Even if you are the owner of a pre-November 2002 incinerator you must apply to Defra - by the end of this month - for approval to continue incinerating. You will need an application form from your local animal health office or from the Defra website. Even if your incinerator does not need to comply with the new rules fully until December 31, the State Veterinary Service will still want to carry out an inspection to check compliance with the transitional rules, and to advise on any action necessary to comply with the full requirements of the rules. Approval to incinerate may be withdrawn at any time if you do not comply with the basic transitional requirements (as outlined in the panel above).

For incinerators that should be fully complying with the new rules already, the State Veterinary Service will carry out individual approval inspections as soon as possible.

Shared incinerators

Fallen stock must not be taken from one livestock holding for incineration on another livestock holding unless the two holdings are operated as though they were a single farming operation.

If you are to share a stationary incinerator, it should be sited on premises on which no livestock are kept. If the premises were originally part of the livestock holding, they should be treated as completely separate i.e. fenced, with a dedicated entrance and equipment and, if possible, a dedicated operator.

General rules

Carcasses must be disposed of as soon as is reasonably practicable, certainly within 24 hours of arrival unless suitably refrigerated. Any temporary storage must be in a covered, well-drained area, or in leakproof covered containers.

Applying a 'singe and burn' to seal carcases is not a permitted operating procedure and does not constitute an approved pre-incineration storage process.

Containers, receptacles and vehicles used for transporting carcasses must be cleaned in a designated area.

Preventative measures against birds, rodents, insects or other vermin must be taken systematically. Use a documented pest control programme.

Cleaning procedures must be established and documented for all parts of the premises. Suitable equipment and cleaning agents must be provided Hygiene control must include regular inspections. Results must be documented and kept for at least two years.

The designated area for cleaning vehicles, containers and receptacles used for transporting animal by-products must be cleaned on a suitably drained hardstanding. Sawdust may be used to absorb any liquid arising and the wet sawdust incinerated subsequently.

You must have adequate water supplies and equipment e.g. brushes, hoses, powerwashers, for cleaning.

The incinerator plant operator should delegate a person to undertake an inspection of all parts of the premises on a weekly basis (or as appropriate depending on throughput etc), so that necessary cleaning can be carried out as required. Details should be recorded.

There must be total physical separation between the incinerator and any livestock and their feed and bedding, with fencing where necessary.

Livestock farmers must incinerate only their own fallen stock; they must not incinerate fallen stock from other farms or premises other than in shared incinerators on non-livestock premises.

Where pigs and poultry are cut up, for example for post-mortem purposes, they must be cut up on a suitable area, the fluid collected and incinerated where practicable, and the by-products incinerated immediately.

Animal by-products should, where practicable, be placed straight in the furnace without direct handling.

Ash disposal now

Defra are considering whether to continue allowing ash to be spread on the land. Until a decision is taken and until the forthcoming agricultural waste controls are in force, ash may be spread to provide an agricultural benefit to land.

Ash disposal when new waste rules are introduced

Agricultural waste will become a "controlled waste" later this year and ash from agricultural premises will then have to be disposed of as a "controlled waste". As an incinerator user, you will need a waste management licence, a Pollution Prevention and Control permit or to have registered an appropriate licensing exemption. Landspreading of ash will only be permitted when it is carried out under the terms of a waste management licence or is carried out under the terms of a licensing exemption.

Source: National Pig Association - Digby Scott - February 2004