Waste management firm Sita UK has backed the Audit Commissions report calling for more energy-from-waste (EfW) plants to be built if local councils are to avoid expensive fines.
The Audit Commission report warned that local councils could face fines totalling millions of pounds unless they deliver planned waste treatment facilities and keep up the pressure to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Regional bosses from Sita have supported the report. The firm operates an EfW plant at Haverton Hill near Billingham in the Tees Valley. General manager Graham Ingleson said: Our facility processes waste that cant be recycled and converts it into enough electricity for 40,000 homes every year thats a town the size of Hartlepool. EfW is a safe and effective way of generating something valuable from waste that cant be recycled.
Local authorities in the region are already doing a great job improving recycling but there is much more that we need to do to meet landfill diversion targets. This report sends out an important message because it says that even with increased recycling local authorities need to invest in robust technology such as energy-from-waste to avoid financial penalties.
Global consultancy firm Deloitte also supported the report. Corporate responsibility and sustainability manager Charles Gooderham said: Incinerators are an emotive subject for members of the public and community hostility can lead to long and risky planning processes. Balanced against this is the requirement for infrastructure to meet increasing recycling targets and provide an alternative to landfill. With a growing shift to technology-based treatment of waste, incinerators have the current advantage of being commercially proven to deliver on a large scale than many other technologies.
"The large capital investment required for these incinerators requires a long-term view of waste streams to ensure appropriate return for investors, together with consideration of potential revenues from energy generation."