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Government enterprise zones unlikely to become starting points for waste planning

Government plans to create a series of Local Enterprise Zones (LEZ) have the “potential” to broaden the options for waste facility developers, but are unlikely to become starting points for waste planning, WYG director Ben Arnold has said. 

Arnold told MRW that the 21 zones, which will offer business rate discounts, “radically simplified” planning and enhanced capital allowances for plant and machinery, could provide certain benefits for waste infrastructure planning.

He said: “The new zones have potential to broaden the range of locating options open to waste facility developers and such organisations should consider the financial benefits alongside other factors.”

However, he warned that the zone will not become “the de facto starting point for site searches” owing to the importance of location criteria, and argued that financial support from Feed In Tariffs (FITs) and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes are likely to be “more influential factors in placement decisions”.

He added: “There are usually more critical location criteria which influence placement [of facilities], such as position relative to catchment area and downstream markets, highway access, linkage to utilities and most importantly, risk of objections from existing or proposed neighbours. Streamlined planning is all very well, but localism is likely to require that objections are still given due weight in planning determinations.

“At this stage it appears more likely that smaller scale waste and recycling facilities will benefit from ‘Enterprise Zones’, due to their greater location flexibility, lower environmental impacts and the risk that major waste facilities may discourage investment by other sectors.”

The first four zones to be announced by the Government are the Boots campus in Nottingham, Liverpool Waters, Manchester Airport and London’s Royal Docks.

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