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Review of 2016 - June

The impact of falling prices for re­cycled materials was underscored in the annual results posted by waste management giants Shanks and Viridor. The former reported a 15% fall in trading profit after a “challenging year” in its municipal division and the latter said it was not relying on price recovery in the short term.

Shanks also said it had “no ex­pectation of material recovery”. Biffa, meanwhile, continued its ac­quisition strategy by buying Cory Environmental Group’s municipal business for £13.5m. Cory said the arm was no longer a core activity.

The issue of local authority fund­ing was raised this month, with Larac chair Andrew Bird telling a CIWM conference that the UK’s 50% target for household recycling was in real doubt as the Govern­ment’s austerity policies would force councils to do “less with less”.

Bird also disputed the suggestion in an ESA report for the transfer of ownership of household waste streams from the public to the pri­vate sector (see May). He said it would be a missed opportunity not to engage first with councils to find ways of improving collections.

His comments coincided with the announcement from Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncas­ter councils that they were planning a joint South Yorkshire waste strat­egy from 2017 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, a Parliamentary an­swer indicated the extent to which local authorities in England were switching from residual collections every week to alternate weekly re­gimes.

The fall in commodity and end-market prices for recovered materi­als was affecting MRF gate fees, according to WRAP. Its annual snapshot Gate Fee Report found significant increases in most waste treatments, although food and green waste processing fees re­mained steady.

Meanwhile, the REA warned that Government policy changes had driven a slowing in the develop­ment of EfW and anaerobic diges­tion schemes. The association hoped the proposed CE package from the EU would stimulate fur­ther growth.

In a year in which prison terms for waste offenders appeared to be on the increase, one of the longest jail sentences was imposed at Teesside Crown Court. Tony Leigh Shepherd was sent to prison for three years and ordered to pay £350,00 under proceeds of crime legislation. The court heard he had made more than £1m from his ille­gal activities.


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