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Veolia urges Government to show UK is ‘open for business’

The head of the UK division of Veolia Environnement has challenged the Government to ensure an appropriate planning, environmental and permitting regime is in place for the UK to keep attracting foreign investments.

Ahead of today’s Budget statement, Estelle Brachlianoff, executive vice president UK & Northern Europe (above), said that Whitehall had been vocal about welcoming inward investments, but failed to show “tangible signs” of its engagement with business.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said Brachlianoff, citing a similar comment made by the Confederation of British Industry more than a year ago.

She noted Veolia had already invested £1.6bn in the UK since 2000.

“We are waiting for tangible signs of this [Government] engagement, which in a competitive market would encourage us to select the UK as part of our next long-term investment cycle.”

She pointed out that one of Veolia’s plants, a PFI recycling and energy recovery facility in Hertfordshire, had received planning permission but was still waiting for the Government’s go-ahead.

“It is these types of delays which make institutional investors concerned whether the UK is indeed open for business,” said Brachlianoff.

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