Whether the UK should build more EfW facilities or not is one of the key decisions the Government will have to face up to in its resources and waste strategy, and the industry has been waiting patiently for an indication on whether to invest or not.
Do you think the Government should back the building of more EfW (incinerator) facilities in order to deal with the residual waste stream?*
Many waste companies are lobbying ministers to increase the UK’s EfW capacity, and nearly three-quarters of respondents reflect this view. The feeling among those from a waste management company rises to 82% in favour of more facilities. By comparison, only around half of local authority respondents argued for more EfW.
It is a crucial issue because of the time and money required to build such a plant. Those who say the UK needs more facilities argue that residual waste could end up being landfilled otherwise. Also, the UK already exports millions of tonnes of refuse-derived fuel a year – why not use the resource domestically?
Reports by the Eunomia consultancy claim the UK is facing an overcapacity of EfW, but this does not seem to have shifted opinions. It may have won over policy-makers, however. The Government has not changed tack since withdrawing PFI credits from EfW schemes some years ago, a move taken because Defra ruled there were enough incinerators.
Those who argue against EfW also say it is incompatible with a circular economy. The Green Party said that incineration is blocking recycling, and Labour’s shadow resources minister David Drew has indicated he is drafting an anti -EfW policy.
* Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding