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UK urgently needs more competition in waste industry

A new Government report provides compelling evidence of the urgent need to encourage new market entrants capable of building extra waste processing capacity.

The review of the municipal waste market by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) highlights the significant challenges facing the industry in the near future.

Specifically, the report identifies the need for a co-ordinated picture of local authority waste procurement plans, a better flow of projects through the procurement pipeline and the adoption of appropriate funding and procurement models.

While also noting that ‘hands-on’ support for local authority procurements within the waste management marketplace is needed, the overwhelming theme is of the long held concerns over waste processing capacity.

Environmental Services Association (ESA) chief executive officer Dirk Hazell said: “The report correctly identifies a number of constraints to developing necessary new infrastructure to recover more of the value in waste.

“Getting this right would help ESA members to deliver higher recycling on a competitive basis and to high regulatory standards, protecting the environment and human health.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has worked closely with OGC on the review and will lead the way in implementing the recommendations put forward.

Key to this will be its Waste Infrastructure Development Programme that will help local authorities and the regions to improve strategic shaping of the market.

Financial Secretary of the Treasury, John Healey MP said: “This study identifies actions that are both designed to tackle procurement barriers in the waste market and to be implemented quickly. Their effective delivery through Defra and others will improve market capacity and help ensure value for money.”

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has also published its report More Competition, Less Waste that makes a number of recommendations for central and local government to ensure that they maximise the benefits of competition.

Minister for Waste at Defra, Ben Bradshaw MP said: “The OGC report, together with the OFT’s report, has made a significant contribution to the Government’s plans to tackle and cut the amount of municipal waste going to landfill.

“We have already begun implementing proposals in the OGC and OFT reports, which are very much in line with those highlighted in Defra’s public consultation on its review of the waste strategy for England.”

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