There is no realistic prospect of building a 21st century waste and resource management system unless the planning process delivers faster and more predictable decisions.
According to the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the planning system needs to be addressed by both central and local government.
The association has just published a major report recommending how the planning system should help the UK become more resource efficient.
ESA chief executive Dirk Hazell said: The UK is making a step change in the way waste is managed. Planning policy must keep up, or the UK will fall foul of EU laws driving up recycling.
At the moment, the planning process is not helping to deliver the shift from landfill to the recycling and recovery infrastructure the UK needs now. No change on planning would mean this situation could get worse.
Nearly five years after the Government launched its waste strategy, planning needs to address 21st century challenges and we invite the Government to set out the practical programme of action by which it intends to ensure waste is managed more sustainably to the standard set by the EU.
The ESA stated that around 3,000 new facilities would be required in the next few years to recycle, recover, compost and treat the 26 million tonnes of waste that are currently landfilled each year.