There is a 15Mtpa capacity gap for residual waste treatment in the UK, a research report from Biffa has indicated.
The study, ‘The Reality Gap’, predicts that this infrastructure shortfall will reduce to 4.4-5.9Mtpa by 2025, but not completely disappear.
It say this is because areas with relatively low residual waste arisings are not attracting investment for substantial new facilities, causing long-term localised shortfalls in treatment capacity.
The report concludes that “this does not imply market failure, but rather market equilibrium”.
Biffa says the UK has to recognise and use all the tools available to it to manage the capacity gap: refuse-derived fuel export, domestic energy recovery and treatment.
The report rejects the idea of eliminating waste to landfill entirely, describing it as “the vital base which supports the waste hierarchy and without which it would collapse”.
The company’s head of environment and external affairs, Jeff Rhodes, said the research shows the UK is well-placed going forward.
“The UK has a good range of options available to it, a healthy development pipeline for new infrastructure and the ability to respond flexibly as we make further progress towards a Circular Economy, but we need to keep all options open and available.”
Biffa carried out the study in-house and had it peer-reviewed by a leading independent consultancy.