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Waste PFI funding all allocated?

All £2 billion-worth of Government private finance initiative (PFI) funding for waste projects is expected to be allocated by the end of next month. This is the view of Waste Infrastructure Delivery Programme (WIDP) head of development John Enright, who spoke at the recent CIWM Spring conference.

After that, we cannot say what will happen next, he added.

Currently, 23 projects have already been allocated PFI funding: 15 are at implementation stage and the remaining eight at procurement stage.

Enright predicts that with the projects in the pipeline and the five to six expressions of interest expected by the end of next month the closing date for the final PFI round the full £2bn will be utilised. But this is subject to submissions being compliant and approved.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) received the additional £2bn of funding through PFI credits in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review last October. As a result PFI credits rose to £600 million in 2008/09; £700m in 2009/10 and £700m in 2010/11.

While PFI is recognised as one of the main mechanisms through which local authorities (LAs) can procure assets in partnership with the private sector and achieve value for money, Enright emphasised that this was not the only option available for LAs.

What authorities are saying is they are investing in the PFI option. And what we say is it is not the only option. Whatever procurement approach you take is going to have an impact, said Enright.

WIDP was established to help accelerate the delivery of major infrastructure needed to treat residual waste without compromising efforts to minimise waste and increase recycling.

Enright encouraged LAs and the industry to start speaking the language of carbon and that WRATE (Waste and Resources Assessment Tool for the Environment) was available to help them do that.

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