George Osborne’s Budget had a few morsels of interest for the waste management industry and the key points are reported in this issue.
There was a commitment from the Chancellor to the highest targets for packaging recycling, following the recent consultation. It heralds a 5% annual increase for plastics that has divided the sector and we will all be watching for the impact on the value of packaging recovery notes.
A Budget promise to adjust an official procedure requiring major infrastructure developments with planning consent also to be approved by Parliament will please those who complain such schemes face unnecessary barriers – and anger any community groups campaigning against them.
But make a diary note for Tuesday, the day Osborne said the Government will publish its National Planning Policy Framework, promising a radical shake-up of planning laws.
But industry pockets could be harder hit by the revelation that Whitehall officials are poring over Veolia’s public private partnership contract dating back to 2001 with Sheffield City Council in a test case to try to drive savings.
As James Illman reveals exclusively on page 5, it is the first stage of a review by the Waste Infrastructure Delivery Programme, a joint initiative between Defra, Local Partnerships and Infrastructure UK, which could have substantial ramifications for existing major waste management contracts.
The Chancellor’s already started to reassess PFI generally because of concerns about a funding method that is typically used to pay for hospitals and schools. It remains to be seen how relevant the review will be to our sector with experts claiming such arrangements for waste schemes are significantly different.