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Industry and councils warn of waste infrastructure shortfall

Industry trade bodies and council waste bosses have called for a review waste trend data and the UK’s ability to meet landfill diversion targets.

In a joint statement, the group urged the Government “not to sleepwalk into waste infrastructure shortfall”, amid concerns over whether the UK will be able to meet its 2020 European Landfill Directive target of landfilling only 35% of waste on 1995 levels by 2020.

The statement was signed by representatives (see below) from the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Local Government Technical Advisers Group (TAG), and Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT).

This call to action reiterated ADEPT’s warning to environment secretary Owen Paterson last month that the UK would not be able to meet its 2020 landfill targets.

ADEPT said the Government could be using out-of-date statistics to make key waste policy and investment decisions, including the shock withdrawal three waste projects’ PFI credits in February. The projects affected were: Bradford and Calderdale; Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and Halton; and North Yorkshire and City of York.

In response, Defra said it was confident that the UK will meet its 2020 landfill target and rejected criticism of its statistical analysis of likely waste trends.

The latest appeal from industry and local authority organisations followed new waste trend data which showed more waste being collected by local authorities, recycling rates flattening and residual waste levels increasing.

The group’s statement said: “Our concern is that the data used by the Government to make recent crucial investment decisions has now been shown to be out of date and this poses a genuine risk to the UK’s ability to meet its 2020 European Landfill Directive targets, which would leave the country unable to avoid very significant EU fines in the future.”

It repeated ADEPT’s criticism of Defra’s withdrawal of PFI credits in February: “The latest statistics, combined with a potential shortfall in the amount of waste treatment capacity coming on stream in the next few years indicate that the Government’s decision to withdraw funding is short-sighted in relation to the UK’s waste policy objectives.”

The letter was signed by:

  • Nick Baveystock, Director General, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
  • Barry Dennis, Director General, Environmental Services Association (ESA)
  • Steve Kent, President, Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport
  • Steve Lee, Chief Executive, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)
  • Phil Moore, President, Local Government Technical Advisers Group (TAG)


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