Readers concerned about health effects of incinerator emissions (Shuttle, 23 September 2021) should note that when Norman Baker MP asked “the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the correlation between the presence of a functioning incinerator and the incidence of infant mortality in that area.” (Hansard, 17 September 2007, c2209W).

He was fobbed off with the following worthless reply from Ben Bradshaw MP, the Minister of State for Health: “In November 2005 the Health Protection Agency issued advice on the public health impact of Municipal Solid Waste Incineration.
Emissions from modern waste incinerators in the United Kingdom are subject to stringent health controls.”
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) promised in August 2003 to check health data around incinerators due to residents’ concerns.

In March 2008, I used FoI to ask for a list of incinerators around which they’d examined rates of illness and rates of premature deaths at all ages at electoral ward level and compared upwind with downwind wards. 
Justin McCracken, the HPA’s Chief Executive, wrote to say that no such data had been examined around any incinerator and that appalling admission was reported on 22 May 2008 in both the Dorking Advertiser and also the Surrey Mirror. 
The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, is the member of Parliament for Bromsgrove and his department and its predecessors have been failing the country on the incinerator issue since there was a sudden post-incinerator rise in Enfield’s infant mortality rate after the Edmonton incinerator started in 1971. 
Bromsgrove is downwind of the Hartlebury incinerator which started in 2017 and ONS data show the following infant death rates in the ten years 2011-2020:
2011: 1.1 per 1,000 live births
2012: 2.2 per 1,000
2013: 2.3 per 1,000
2014: 6.6 per 1,000
2015: 3.3 per 1,000
2016: 6.4 per 1,000
2017: 3.2 per 1,000
2018: 5.2 per 1,000
2019: 10.9 per 1,000
2020: 8.8 per 1,000 live births
If the above data are plotted as three-year rolling averages, a sudden post-incinerator rise in infant death rates can be clearly seen and Worcestershire County Council want more of the same in Wyre Forest, where the majority of residents are in Kidderminster.
I hope Wyre Forest politicians ask the Environment Agency (EA) to comment on the fact that ONS data consistently show sudden post-incinerator rises in rates of infant mortality in councils exposed to emissions.
Public Health England, upon whom the EA rely for expert opinion on health effects of incinerator emissions, have chosen to stay silent on the above pattern, just like the Health Protection Agency, their predecessor authority.
Michael Ryan