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Waste Disposal Authorities give the thumbs up to EfW, MBT and gasification technologies

Energy-from-waste, mechanical biological treatment and gasification are considered to be the preferred technologies which Waste Disposal Authorities will use to meet landfill diversion targets, according to new research.

The findings are published by professional services firm Ernst & Young in conjunction with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, in a new report Local authority waste management survey 2009.

The survey of local authorities sought the views of key officers on a range of waste issues. It follows an earlier report from 2001, when the sector was in a very different landscape and the outcome indicates that significant progress has been made since then.

The survey shows that the most prevalent residual waste treatment technology which waste disposal authorities anticipate using is EfW, which is expected to divert on average 37 per cent of an authoritys municipal solid waste from landfill.

Other preferred technologies are MBT, diverting on average 20 per cent of waste from landfill and gasification (19 per cent). Anaerobic digestion is anticipated to contribute only 14 per cent to the overall diversion of an authoritys waste from landfill. The lowest level of diversion is expected from pryolysis.

Ernst & Young environmental and environmental infrastructure director Stephen Hazelton told MRW: I think more WDAs go for EfW, MBT and gasification because they are proven technologies and they are financially viable.

In contrast, AD is not as recognised in England as it has been in Wales. Wales has taken a different approach in their strategy. Wales has taken a more directive approach to AD.

The report states that many authorities now have a much clearer picture (than in 2001) of the available technologies and of their preferred solutions.

Another key finding from the report shows that over half of WDAs anticipate private finance initiative credits and around 80 per cent anticipate using council tax to alleviate their affordability constraints. Almost two thirds of respondents indicated that they will use some form of PFI contractual arrangement based upon the Design, Build, Finance and Operate approach. Under DBFO, the required capital costs are financed by the private sector, who recover its costs of investment in new infrastructure via an annual service fee, which becomes payable only when the new infrastructure starts to deliver services to the required standard.

Funding and planning issues are seen as key barriers to achieving landfill diversion targets. A total of 21 per cent of respondents saw the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme and landfill tax as having a minimal impact on capital investment decisions. The report stated: This may reflect some authorities views of the likelihood of LATS penalties being enforced at waste disposal authority level.

Ernst & Young believes there is scope for central Government to address some of the concerns raised by WDAs. It calls on the HM Treasury Infrastructure Fund to provide more support to projects. It also said that it would be helpful to review the respective roles of the local planning authorities and the relevant central Government departments to consider mechanisms to alleviate the mounting concern around the deliverability of planning.

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