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Review of 2016 - May

Business gloom in the EfW sector increased with reports of continu­ing problems for the gasification and pyrolysis group New Earth, with senior lenders rejecting a res­cue plan. 

The group thought that talks with a developer of large plants across Europe would pro­duce a “favourable outcome” but this would ultimately prove to be a vain hope.

The failure of air Products’ Tees Valley project in April had prompted the then communities secretary Greg Clark to delay a de­cision on the Bilsthorpe plasma gasification plant because of simi­larities in the technology. Operator Peel Environmental robustly de­fended its project.

And there were positive voices raised at an EfW conference in London, with delegates remaining bullish that examples of successful operations would sustain the industry.

The long-running saga of the Closed Loop plastic milk bottle recycling facility in east London was nearing an end, with administrators running the facility a year after a takeover. Veolia later bought the facility.

And the troubled paper sector sought help, with the Confederation of Paper Industries calling for greater support from the Govern­ment to help cut energy costs.

Good news came in the form of Queen’s Awards for a furniture re­manufacturer, an incinerator com­pany, a packager, a refuse-derived fuel (RDF) exporter and a biogas business.

The ESA kicked off the first of a series of reports looking at radical changes to the UK recycling mar­kets. The first asked questions about the relationship between local authorities and waste produc­ers because, according to ESA executive director Jacob Hayler, “rising costs and depressed com­modity markets are putting im­mense pressure on the sector”.

This was seen by some as establishing a case for switching own­ership of secondary materials col­lected from households to waste producers. The ESA also commis­sioned a report which concluded that there was no obvious trend for councils to take household services in-house, although it did question the transparency of town hall deci­sion-making.

One change for local authorities, this month gave them the power to issue on-the-spot fines for fly-tip­pers as part of a crime crackdown.

This month, MRW reported sev­eral times on EU proposals for a CE. But all that would soon be thrown into the air.


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