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England household boom will have "significant impact" on waste management planning

The number of households in England is projected to grow to 27.8 million in 2031 and this is set to have a significant impact on local authority waste management planning, say industry experts.

The Department for Communities and Local Government released a new report called Household projections to 2031, England . The projected figures are based on the 2006-based population projections, published by the Office for National Statistics in June 2008. The survey predicts that the East Midlands, South West, East and Yorkshire and the Humber regions are all projected to grow by at least 30 per cent from 2006 to 2031.

It also projects that one person households will increase by 163,000 per year.

Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee chair Joy Blizzard told MRW: Any significant increase in households is going to have a significant impact on waste services and the infrastructure needed to deal with it. I have a feeling that the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme doesnt take household numbers into account.

Regional Waste Technical Advisory Board Yorkshire and Humber chair Rob Murfin added: The growth in housing numbers is significant for municipal waste management - as perhaps the biggest impact on forecasted levels of waste tonnage arisings is the number of households in an area.

We need to treat these new figures with a degree of caution - they are forecasts and they reflect a trend established during a period of strong housing pressures. In particular, the last five years have seen unprecedented levels of activity in the UK economy and consequential inward migration, and this has also coincided with the accession states joining the EU. These variables will certainly change significantly over the next few years.

However, it is true to say that demographic change, including higher birth rates in some parts of the country and smaller average households size will lead to a natural increase in housing demand. It is only right that Government should look at responding to tensions in the housing market, even a period of low market activity.

Perhaps the best way forward is to examine the implications of these new housing projections at a strategic level - within the new Integrated Regional Strategies. These planning strategies will look at the long term requirements for housing land in the regions and related requirements for infrastructure; including transport investment and waste management facilities.


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