The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(Defra) has recently released the long-awaited waste policy review
and accompanying action plan. Whilst the content of the
review has received a mixed reaction from stakeholders, the details
should be properly considered as they outline the Government's
intentions in the waste sector.
The review brought forth three key objectives for the Government
in relation to the waste industry:
Community acceptance of waste
infrastructure In the review, the Government set out a range of measures
that it argues will promote community acceptance of waste
infrastructure, including through local communities benefiting from
hosting waste infrastructure. It remains to be seen whether
these measures will prove successful, or whether the successful
completion of waste infrastructure projects will be hampered by a
lack of centralised control.
Reduction of government
intervention The Government is looking to reduce direct intervention in
the waste sector (including through a declining use of PFI
credits), but wishes to encourage investment by reducing the
commercial barriers to the sector. To fill part of the
funding gap that results from this policy, it is enlisting the
Green Bank and "green" infrastructure funds.
However, a large shortfall remains that will see local authorities
forced to rely on prudential borrowing to complete projects
– projects that must be completed to meet the challenging
(and unchanged) EU targets for reducing landfill use.
Greater investment in "new"
technology One of the central themes identified by the review will
not be a new concept – the reference to greater
investment in "new" technology and the need to encourage
more third party investment in it. The Government proposes
that new recovery technologies (such as anaerobic digestion (AD))
should be given distinct incentivisation schemes, but it has not
identified what form these schemes will take.
The above is a brief summary of the key objectives that emerged
from the waste policy review. For our full report on the
implications of the review, please
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