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Low GDP could warp waste infrastructure investment

Slow growth in GDP will not impact waste production but it might see lower level infrastructure developed to deal with it, according to one waste consultant.

Following news that the UK’s GDP has grown by just 0.2% in Q2, Joe Morris a director at environmental consultancy the Waterman Group is concerned that new energy-from-waste (EfW) technologies might lose out.

Cheaper, older incinerator technologies that divert a higher percentage from landfill might be more able to attract funding, despite the fact that they are not always the best solution.

Morris said: “This might be more of a consequence because the banks are not readily going to loan to waste to energy projects. I am seeing private merchant facilities being stopped because they can’t raise funds for new technologies like pyrolysis.”

He said the Government’s attitude that we must all ‘tighten our belts’ is “hypocrisy” as the economy cannot grow because the banks are refusing to lend and the Government has not been “strong enough” to convince them to do so.  He said: “If the banks would start lending the economy would grow.”

Morris did not think that people would stop producing waste but felt that the production of waste packaging might be slightly reduced as consumers shop at cheaper no-frills supermarkets.

However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel as Morris believes the £22 billion pipeline funding from Defra that has been ring-fenced for local authority PFI and PPP waste projects should help attract more investment to the area.

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