MRF gate fees are up to four and a half times cheaper in England than the rest of the UK and in some cases is actually being paid for.
These findings are from figures collated for WRAP’s Gate Fees Report but not published. The report instead described the fees outside of England as “notably higher”.
WRAP has now released these figures, which show that the median MRF gate fee for England is £10 per tonne compared with £29, £36 and £45 for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales respectively. But the figures also show a range of prices, indicating that some MRFs in England are paying up to £36 per tonne for waste or £6 per tonne in Northern Ireland (see table in box right).
WRAP has said many factors may be at play here, including spot fees, capacity, contract gate fees, local market conditions, haulage costs, the size of the facility and revenues from the sale of recovered materials.
A spokesman said: “Many factors have an influence on individual gate fees paid, and it is not possible to be certain which of these is the reason for MRF gate fees being higher in Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland compared with England.”
However, waste management firms Veolia and Sita both believe the figures reflect a more developed waste management infrastructure in England and the fact that it is a more competitive market.
A spokesman for SITA UK agreed that the factors at play are diverse, and added: “There are more MRFs in England than other parts of the UK, so competition for the front-end materials will be greater.”
Veolia Environmental Services’ (UK) executive director Robert Hunt said: “We think there are two reasons for the higher gate fees: in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales there are fewer recycling facilities compared with England, with the result that competition for product in England is that much more acute.
“The second reason is that demand and competition for product is high at present. It is very important to keep facilities running as close to maximum capacity are possible - hence the lower gate fees in England where there are, notably, significant variations in gate fees across the regions.”