£8 billion needed to meet EU waste targets

9th September 2011

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Renewable ,
  • Waste ,
  • Disposal ,
  • Minimisation



The UK government must act urgently to reduce the risk to investors in waste infrastructure if the country is to source the billions needed to revitalise the sector, according to parliamentary advisors.

In a report published this week, the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) warns that Britain could be facing a real crisis in its ability to deal with its waste and meet EU landfill diversion targets, if the government doesn’t do more to support private sector investment.

According to the report, “Rubbish to resource: financing new waste infrastructure”, £8 billion is needed to build the 8.8 million tonnes of residual waste treatment capacity necessary to meet 2020 targets.

Public sector spending cuts mean that at least 70% of funding will have to come from private businesses, but the fall in lending from banks, the inherent risk in waste infrastructure projects and regulatory uncertainty are hindering investment, says the APSRG.

To overcome these barriers, the government must work to ensure policy and investor certainty and mitigate the risk of funding such projects, argues the report. It recommends the creation of a cross-departmental committee, with representation from agencies and public bodies in the sector, to better coordinate government waste policies.

The APSRG also believes the planned Green Investment Bank (GIB) must play a key role in reducing the risks associated with investing in new projects, and advises that it takes on debts and invests in shares that will be the slowest to payback.

“New and innovative ways of providing a framework of certainty and new sources of finance is an imperative to achieving society's ambition of managing our waste in an increasingly sustainable manner,” said Dr Alan Whitehead MP, chair of the APSRG research inquiry and regular environmentalist columnist.

Waste industry body, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) welcomed the report saying government should pay “careful attention” to its recommendations.

“The hangover from the credit crunch coupled with the inherent complexity of many waste infrastructure projects means that the capital markets are unlikely to come up with the investment that is needed unaided,” said ESA director of policy Matthew Farrow.

“This report has some important ideas for how the GIB could help unlock private investment, for example through underwriting the risk attached to commercial and industrial waste inputs.”

The report also calls on the government to better clarify definitions of waste and recyclate processing to help encourage the exploration of potential new business opportunities within the sector.

“A more comprehensive approach to waste management would provide an opportunity to be more resourceful with the waste we produce and benefit a range of parties from local communities to the renewable energy sector,” argues the report.

“Rubbish is a resource we can't afford to squander by burying in the ground,” agreed Jamie Reed MP, shadow minister for environment, food and rural affairs, welcoming the report.

“More infrastructure is needed to deal with our waste, not only so we can use this valuable source of energy and materials, but also, so that we avoid paying millions of pounds in landfill tax and EU fines.”


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Swing voters show strong support for renewables

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

A project promoter’s perspective on the environmental challenges facing new subsea power cables

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Tom Harris examines the supply chain constraints facing the growing number of interconnector projects

2nd April 2024

Read more

The UK government’s carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) strategy is based on optimistic techno-economic assumptions that are now outdated, Carbon Tracker has warned.

13th March 2024

Read more

The UK government’s latest Public Attitudes Tracker has found broad support for efforts to tackle climate change, although there are significant concerns that bills will rise.

13th March 2024

Read more

A consortium including IEMA and the Good Homes Alliance have drafted a letter to UK government ministers expressing disappointment with the proposed Future Homes Standard.

26th February 2024

Read more

Global corporations such as Amazon and Google purchased a record 46 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy last year, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).

13th February 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close