PPS Group’s Head of Waste Rebecca Eatwell writes a regular column in Haymarket’s Waste Planning magazine – read this month’s column below.
Affect of localism on waste planning
Localism is a major priority for the new coalition government. The idea of devolving power to local communities cuts across numerous policy areas, including planning. The government has pledged a radical reform of the planning system (in line with the Conservative Party paper Open Source Planning) to give local communities a greater say over development in their area.
Many in the industry have expressed concerns that this will make an already challenging planning process even more difficult. Local opposition to proposed new waste facilities is common and giving this local voice more influence has the potentialto further impede the delivery of strategic waste infrastructure.
The government proposes to introduce a system of financial incentives to swing support for local development. This could include the government giving communities the cash equivalent of the council tax reaped from a new development, but is also likely to include developers giving compensation to neighbours of developments. There are clearly some questions over the legitimacy of what could be seen as bribing “nimbys” andaround how this would be administered.
The idea of selling the benefits of waste infrastructure, such as district heating, to encourage support is not new. Experience has shown that incentives aer unlikely to overcome common concerns such as misconceptions of health risks. However the coalition’s localism agenda means that they will be leaving it to local councils and developers to make the case for waste technologies.
So, what does localism mean for waste planning? The industry will need to engage local communities and stakeholders even earlier and even better that ever before.
Written by Adam Browning