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Queen's speech offers sector opportunities, but no surprises

The recycling and waste sector welcomed the Queens speech yesterday, as although it contained no surprises, it did confirm earlier proposals announced by Government. Confirmation in the Climate Change Bill of local authority powers to pilot financial incentive schemes to reduce waste was described as a significant step in the right direction by the Local Government Association (LGA). But it added: The final decision on whether financial incentive schemes are appropriate and how they should be implemented must be up to councils and local people, not prescribed in legislation by central Government. The Planning Bill builds on the White Paper released in May and establishes an independent infrastructure planning commission and a single consent regime for nationally significant projects. This would include large scale waste infrastructure such as energy from waste and processing facilities. In the Housing Bill there was a proposal to enable eco towns to be built more quickly, which offer potential for new technologies and approaches, for example, combined heat and power plants and integrated waste management. As with the Planning Bill, the Energy Bill built on a White Paper released in May this year, proposing measures to triple the amount of UK electricity from renewable resources, which could include energy from waste. Renewables obligations will be strengthened to drive greater and more rapid deployment. Environmental Services Association chief executive Dirk Hazell said: These announcements offer further opportunities to make Britain a Recycling Society. "The waste management industry already provides a third of Britains genuinely renewable electricity and we could do much more if the Government more closely aligned the forthcoming Energy and Planning Bills. Our industry offers clean, safe and indigenous renewable electricity to reduce Britains carbon footprint which the planning system permitting can be provided much more quickly than either nuclear or clean coal technologies. Proposals for new housing present both opportunities and challenges for our industry. Councils need to be properly resourced to sustain momentum on recycling and they also need to give planning permission for new infrastructure to recover value from waste.

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