Unless the Government stops dragging its heels, the UK faces an impossible task in developing the infrastructure needed to deal with its waste.
That is the opinion of Cory Environmental group planning and communications director John Boldon, who believes that instead of blaming local authorities for poor performances, Westminster needs to back companies in pursuit of land and reprocessing facilities.
He said: “The (Energy from Waste) facility at Belvedere has been planned since 1999, and went up for a public enquiry in 2003. This received approval from inspectors after costing £2.5 million to stage, yet the Secretary of State sat on it until the beginning of 2005.
Boldon also suggests that competition for sites is fierce. With land value high, property developers are invariably able to greatly outbid waste management companies.
But purchasing a site is only the first obstacle to overcome. With expensive apartments overlooking the proposed site for a 480,000 tonnes capacity Materials Recycling Facility at Smugglers Way, Wandsworth, Boldon expects it to take five years to get the proposal through.
“Where does this situation leave us as a country? Surely we need decisions? Industry knows these may go for or against, but without these decisions, uncertainty reigns and we are stuck in a vacuum.
“My criticism is not the type of decision, but the inability of Government to make any. Government must take the lead and not blame anyone else”, Boldon added.
And while the Greater London Authority and Mayor have now backed and fought for a facility at Peruvian Wharf in the London Borough of Newham, out of 32 London boroughs, only four have identified sites for waste management.