The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has commissioned a ’report of reports’ in an attempt to put an end to what is describes as “ceaseless debates” about waste treatment infrastructure.
Conflicting estimates about the extent of the UK’s throughput to energy-from-waste (EfW) plants in the next decade or so as more waste is diverted from landfill has divided the industry. Most of the major waste managers have produced reports showing there will be so-called ‘capacity gap’: insufficient infrastructure to handle the increased tonnages.
But these, and a series of earlier from large waste managers, have all been at odds with six-monthly regular reviews from the consultancy Eunomia, which have always concluded that the UK will have overcapacity.
In the past, that view was used by Defra to withdraw support from large PFI waste deals.
ESA executive director Jacob Hayler said it had asked the Tolvik consultancy, which had peer-reviewed the Biffa report, to produce a ’synthesis report’. It will compare published reports and also the internal analyses of the major waste operators.
“The intention is to show the range of forecasts for future capacity needs and the assumptions that drive them,” said Hayler.
“We have held initial discussions with Defra about the Government sharing its internal forecasts for the analysis so that we can be as comprehensive as possible, and we are also speaking to the National Infrastructure Commission to ensure that the waste infrastructure work it has commissioned is complementary to the research Tolvik is completing on ESA’s behalf.
“We hope this report will put an end to ceaseless debates about whether or not we need more investment in waste infrastructure once and for all.”
The ESA report was referred to at RWM by Suez chief executive David Palmer-Jones. He said he had discussed the conflicting reports face-to-face with Eunomia managing director Mike Brown at the show.