Veolia Environmental Services used last weeks Futuresource exhibition to launch its Waste Manifesto, which outlines the waste management companys position and strategic direction.
Speaking at the launch, VES UK chief executive Jean-Dominique Mallet said: We feel a responsibility to come forward with what we believe in. We are more than willing to be challenged on what we say we want to generate discussion and progress.
He added: Within our waste service [worldwide] it is very clear that the UK is where we want to grow.
VES deputy chief executive Paul Levett predicted more consolidation and new entrants in the waste sector.
Levett told MRW there were currently huge drivers of change happening in the industry yet a perception that little was happening.
Even if you have all the right legislation, landfill tax and the best will in the world, there is a lead time [for facilities to come on stream]. At the moment you could make landfill tax £1,000 per tonne and you still wouldnt divert material from landfill as there is nowhere else for it to go.
But Levett said confirmation that landfill tax would increase to £72 per tonne by 2013 now created a strong economic case to build waste plants. He added this year offered a huge opportunity in PFI contracts and that procurement for these needed to start this year so as not to miss the boat.
Levett reiterated the common industry concern that the planning process was too long, impacting on investment in new facilities. It [the planning process] needs to be faster and more certain, he said.
Looking ahead five years, he felt the new facilities that come on stream would shape the way the industry operates. The trend of mixing food waste with garden waste may end. As the economics of anaerobic digestion work, the separation method may be the way to go, he said.
But with dry recyclables, he envisaged a trend towards commingled collections despite the recent Waste & Resources Action Programme document stating this was the least favourable collection method.
Other positions outlined in Veolias manifesto included its support for joint waste authorities, use of carbon rather than weight targets, incentives rather than penalties and procurement for fully integrated waste management projects with authorities.