NO NEW bids for waste incinerators should be granted permission, the Scottish Government minister responsible for cutting waste has said.

Greens Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater told MSPs that her Government will implement all 12 recommendations from an independent review of burning waste carried out by waste expert Dr Colin Church.

Dr Church examined the role of incineration in the waste hierarchy, making 12 recommendations including a cap on the use of incineration as a method of disposal.

Up to ten new incinerators are either in the planning process or due to begin operations in the next few years.

These new incinerators could create the capacity for an extra 1.5 million tonnes of waste to be burned in Scotland, while the amount of waste burnt has increased by over 800,000 tonnes since 2011.

Ms Slater said: “Reducing waste and recycling what we do produce is key to tackling the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity and ensuring we all enjoy a healthy environment.

“That’s why we are taking action to create a circular economy, in which materials are kept in use for as long as possible and precious natural resources are not wasted.

“We also need to make sure we manage unavoidable and unrecyclable waste in the short-term.”

She added: “By putting in place sensible measures to limit and gradually reduce Scotland’s incineration capacity, we can make sure we can manage our waste today, while ensuring our future waste infrastructure aligns with our climate targets.

“I look forward to working with local authorities and industry to take forward these recommendations.”

She said there would be “very limited exceptions” to the ban on new municipal incinerators.

But opposition MSPs urged her to go further in reducing existing incineration capacity, with the Tories claiming Scotland risks being the “ashtray of Europe”.

Conservative MSP Maurice Golden said: “Incineration should be a last resort, but today’s statement confirms it’s business as usual for burning waste.

“This is a missed opportunity and the minister has done the bare minimum on incineration, declining new planning permission but happy for the massive overcapacity already approved to go ahead.”

He said the Government had failed to heed warnings on incineration, and waste from abroad may be imported to feed overcapacity in Scottish incinerators.

Mr Golden said: “Not content with being the ashtray of Europe, they could turn us into the dump of Europe too.”

Last year, the Scottish Greens were accused of “acting like bureaucrats and listening to their SNP bosses” after failing to bring forward a moratorium on halting large scale waste incinerators despite being in the party’s manifesto.

The party’s manifesto for last year's Holyrood election pledged to “oppose the construction of new incinerators as they alleviate the pressure to reduce waste, cause air pollution and are bad for the climate”.

But instead, Greens Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater initially ordered an independent review into the practice, falling short of an immediate moratorium.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the commitment by the Scottish Government.

Kim Pratt, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s circular economy campaigner, said: “The Scottish Government’s ban on new incinerators is very welcome news and must mark the beginning of the end for these polluting projects that keep us locked into sending valuable resources up in smoke.

“It is vital the Scottish Government acts now to tackle the impact of our existing incinerators, given their huge climate pollution.

"Reducing the amount of plastic waste burnt is the only viable option for cutting emissions from existing plants. Carbon Capture and Storage is completely unsuitable for incineration as it is technically challenging, extremely expensive and locks us into a polluting system.

“Scotland will have more capacity than there is waste to burn by 2027 because of those plants already in the pipeline. Incinerator investors and operators now have a choice to buy into a circular economy for Scotland or to burn away that future."