Collect and Recycle

Ministers warned of imminent ‘waste infrastructure shortfall’

Collect and Recycle’s (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) clients may be interested to read that waste recycling industry representatives have voiced concerns that the UK could soon be “sleepwalking into a waste infrastructure shortfall”. They have consequently requested that an urgent review is carried out into the UK’s ability to meet its targets for the diversion of landfill.

The fears are aired in an open letter published jointly by various UK recycling stakeholders, including the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Environmental Services Association (ESA), Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and Local Government Technical Advisers Group (TAG). It features a reiteration of concerns that the government used data that is not reflective of current waste trends to justify the withdrawal from various projects of infrastructure credits.

It follows the representative body for local authority waste department heads, ADEPT, sending a letter last month to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. In it, ADEPT took ministers to task for the funding decision, stating that it was likely to render the country “unable to avoid potentially crippling landfill fines in the future”. The decision had an impact on residual waste projects in Bradford, Merseyside and Yorkshire.

In response, Defra expressed its confidence that landfill reduction targets would be met, as well as that it had analysed its data accurately and landfill rates in the UK were “continuing to reduce”.

However, on 7th August, the industry bodies published a statement in which they claimed that a possible shortfall in the amount of waste treatment capacity looming in the coming years indicated the “short sighted” nature of the decision to withdraw funding, as far as waste policy objectives were concerned.

The group stated: “2020, when the UK has to meet strict targets on the amount of rubbish it sends to landfill, is no longer on the distant horizon, and like all major infrastructure projects, waste schemes take years to come to fruition and cannot be brought on stream at a moment’s notice.”

The groups added that Defra statements had suggested little interest in a review. They asserted the importance of ministers recognising “the government’s commitment to long term funding for infrastructure”, instead of dismissing warnings from organisations at the “sharp end” of government policy implementation.

The letter continued: “How we deal with waste affects every single one of us – as householders, businesses and taxpayers. That is why we are so publicly repeating our warnings. Once again we call on the government to confirm its commitment now, to the existing infrastructure programme, and review the situation urgently to provide assurance – and evidence – that the UK will be properly equipped to meet its European Landfill Directive targets in seven year’s time.”

Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) can only affirm its own support for measures to ensure the meeting of the UK’s landfill diversion targets in the years to come – with its own waste services, encompassing the likes of cardboard and computer disposal, helping businesses and organisations to recycle easily, efficiently and cost-effectively.

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