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CIWM: Infrastructure gap by 2020 predicted

There is a risk of a significant infrastructure gap in the UK by 2020, according to an analysis of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste infrastructure data.

The research by Ricardo-AEA, commissioned by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), underlined issues around the quality of the available statistics on C&I waste.

CIWM president David Beadle, who was inaugurated at a ceremony at the House of Commons on 15 October, said the report “highlights just how inadequate the data is and throws into stark relief how poorly informed we are as a sector to make robust, strategic decisions about the future planning and delivery of waste infrastructure.”

He also said other challenges for the C&I sector are inadequate mechanisms to support larger than local planning and the impact on investment opportunities posed by feedstock uncertainty.

Beadle called for the industry to work together to address these challenges, calling the C&I infrastructure gap his priority as CIWM president for 2013/14.

He said: “We need to do more, especially where we can see under-performance as seems likely in the C&I waste market. There is no room for criminals, slipshod standards, adhocracy and guesswork which undermine the importance and value of what we have to achieve.”

He said one solution was the electronic duty of care (Edoc) system, which he described as a valuable tool for data collection to ensure future forecasting is more reliable.

Beadle also called for Government to set “achievable but ambitious targets”, adding: “We need to know what it is we are trying to achieve on C&I waste as much as we do on municipal wastes.”

CIWM will also “support UK and Irish governments in bringing industry interest together with investors and other stakeholders” to encourage better understanding and market confidence, he added.

ESA’s economist Jacob Hayler said: “The industry has long known that commercial waste data is patchy to say the least and [ESA] supports CIWM’s calls for improvements in this area. 

“A key finding of the investigation seems to be that, contrary to other reports, the UK is actually heading for significant under-capacity in waste treatment. This shows us how pressing the need for investment in waste infrastructure remains if we are to maximise the use of our valuable resources and divert as much material from landfill as possible.”

In his inaugeration speech, Beadle also highlighted:

  • CIWM’s current push on skills and virtual learning
  • The need to maintain the focus on tackling waste crime
  • CIWM’s role in a number of current health and safety initiatives

He said waste prevention is the next big challenge for the future and called on Defra to show more vision and leadership on waste prevention.

“In moving towards resource efficiency, resource security and the holy grail of the circular economy, our work will probably never be completely done,” he added.

Beadle takes over from Skidmore

David Beadle

David Beadle (left) takes over the CIWM presidential mantle from John Skidmore.

Beadle has worked in the waste industry for 32 years, most recently as managing director of the North London Waste Authority since 2009.

Prior to this Beadle was managing director of Norfolk Environmental Waste Services (NEWS) from 1993.

He was responsible for the introduction of green-waste composting in Norfolk in 1995, the development of one of the first high-throughput MRF in the UK in 2004 and NEWS’ leading role in converting Norfolk to a ‘twin-bin’ system, which resulted in a significant rise in recycling.


Readers' comments (2)

  • “A key finding of the investigation seems to be that, contrary to other reports, the UK is actually heading for significant under-capacity in waste treatment." - Presumably this is a reference to a shortfall in recycling and composting facilities for C&I, as per the NorthWest Study's finding that: "…the recorded data suggests that up to 97.5% of the C&I waste landfilled in the [North West] region could be recycled if the correct facilities and services were available.” (Page 43)
    North West of England C&I Waste Survey 2009 for the Environment Agency. Urban Mines, March 2010. Available from:

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  • From John Glover of Bywaters. All that is necessary is funding. We have the land. We have the planning permission. Sadly we have been let down by the politicians and the banks. Trying to follow EU procurement rules seems to have cost the North London Waste Authority five years and £32 million for no result. It would surely be better to make efficient local arrangements that allow direct local deliveries by collection vehicles to local processing facilities. We could have provided a heck of a lot of LOCAL facilities for £32 million!

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