Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Annex 4

Cement Industry Solution to Treatment of Contaminated Livestock: Comparison between Belgium and the UK



  A proportion of Belgium's livestock population was contaminated with PCBs. To protect the health of consumers, the government ordered the destruction of all contaminated meat and derived products.


  As there was insufficient incineration capacity to achieve this, the government ruled that three cement works should use the material as fuel. In the four months at the end of that year, 7,500 tonnes of powders and 10,000 tonnes of fats were used at the factories. The factories' existing emissions restrictions would have applied throughout this time. A complete, controlled disposal solution was achieved by capitalising on relevant cement kiln attributes:

    —  high temperatures—minimising dioxin and furan emissions;

    —  any ash generated was incorporated in the cement.

Cement Industry's role:

  Integral to a swift solution.



  Over four million beasts—cattle, sheep and pigs—were infected with foot and mouth disease. The government's resulting slaughter programme, initiated to bring the outbreak to an end, resulted in almost 500,000 tonnes of animal carcasses having to be disposed of.


  The disposal of carcasses was achieved in two main ways:

    —  burning on outdoor, low temperature pyres generating high, uncontrolled emissions of dioxins and furans;

    —  burying in large pits.

Cement Industry's role:

  In a bilateral meeting with Agency representatives Lafarge raised the potential for cement kilns to be used in disposing of Foot and Mouth infected beasts. Their response was:

    —  the substitute fuels protocol would apply—a 17 month period to get permanent permission to use rendered beasts in the process (this period of applications, consultations and a trial made the use of the cement kilns as part of the delivery of the required swift solution untenable.

    —  the protocol would not apply if cement production was suspended and the kilns were given over solely to incinerating the carcasses of animals—a commercially impossible proposition.

  The following relevant cement industry attributes were not capitalised on:

    —  A nation-wide plant network.

    —  Established, rigorous environmental emissions controls.

    —  Low dioxin and furan formation due to high temperatures.


  There must be a period of baseline operation when comprehensive extractive gas and particulates tests are carried out in conjunction with the operators own continuous monitoring.

  This period is not prescribed but required a minimum of two months.

  This includes: extractive sampling data; air dispersion modelling and comparison with National Air Quality Standards, NAQS; Best Environmental Option, BEO, study; soil sampling; health study effects.

  Appraisal of results by Agency and further consultation with its consultees.

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