Energy minister Charles Hendry has told delegates at RWM in partnership with CIWM that waste remains an “integral part” of Government environment and energy policy.
Speaking at the first day of the exhibition, Hendry sought to reassure attendees that waste will continue to play a central role and that politicians were taking a “pragmatic approach” to the issue.
He added that the Government was already aware of a number of “particular regulatory problems” regarding advanced conversion technologies in the context of rules on permits.
He said: “We know the novel nature of these technologies can make it challenging for the industry to navigate Environment Agency (EA) permitting rules and guidance. So we will continue to work with the EA and industry to ensure that regulation does not have unintended consequences on the development of the energy recovery industry.
“Part of the Government’s job is to raise ambition. It’s our job to see how much better we can do, constantly push at the boundaries and make sure we do better than we would otherwise.”
Hendry also discussed the “vital role” the Green Investment Bank will play in addressing market failures that prevent private sector infrastructure investment, and said waste is one of the areas likely to be eligible for initial intervention.
In response to a question from the floor regarding the effect of the Localism Bill on energy-from-waste (EfW) planning applications, Hendry said the legislation will drive communities towards “smaller, more sustainable EfW facilities”.
He said: “There should be agreement in a local framework on how that area should develop and the main component parts within it. I think all communities accept that dealing with their own waste is an important part of that.”