The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) has dedicated £19m to bridging London’s waste capacity gap.
In its 2013-15 business plan, LWARB’s said the aim of its ‘tailored infrastructure fund’ is to ensure London’s requirements “are delivered ahead of the economic curve such that the opportunity for early landfill diversion is not missed”.
Wayne Hubbard, chief operating officer for LWARB, told MRW that waste projects could be financed in the form of loans, equity or even investments in property or land to be leased back to the developers. It was not a grant fund, he added.
LWARB said the fund will help the development of waste projects that help move waste up the hierarchy but that are “proving difficult to get off the ground” with only private finanace.
The plan said: “Given the extent of the capacity gap and the capital cost associated with infrastructure development, LWARB is only capable of supporting its partial fulfilment. However, given the urgent need for additional capacity, LWARB will tailor its financial support based upon an assessment of individual project propositions.”
Under the new flexible approach, LWARB will work with sponsors and potential funders to explore the financial support mechanisms they can offer that will suit each individual project, and protect it from default.
Richard Tracey (left), chairman of LWARB, said access to finance was a critical barrier to infrastructure delivery in London but such infrastructure to divert waste from landfill offered substantial benefits for London and the UK.
He added: “Waste infrastructure investments create jobs for Londoners, and the businesses created continue to invest in the local economy for the lifetime of the plant.”
The business plan also outlines the launch of a £1.7m fund to combat the plateauing recycling performance in the capital.
Full details of the scheme will not be revealed until the summer, but it will be part of the LWARB’s Waste Efficiency Programme introduced in March 2012 to help local authorities maintain and improve recycling performance while saving money.
LWARB said it will help London boroughs to work together on joint procurement projects to provide economies of scale, and will also include ongoing support for them communicating reuse and recycling information.
The full LWARB funding for the period of the business plan is £22.5m, some of which comprises grant funding from Defra.
LWARB has financed the TEG Group to develop London’s first anaerobic digestion plant, which is now under construction and due to open later this year, and said it has commitments this year for increased AD capacity and a new plastic reprocessing plant.
LWARB said it has committed around £51m to various waste management projects over the past two years.