PPS’ head of waste & resources, Rebecca Eatwell writes regularly for Waste Planning magazine. Read her December column below.
As the end of the year looms, many in the industry will be wondering what 2011 will hold for the waste industry. 2010 proved to be a mixed bag, with the new government’s actions prompting both criticism and praise.
The biggest news of 2010 was undoubtedly the shock announcement that funding for seven PFI waste projects will be axed. Given that it is widely felt that meeting landfill diversion targets is going to be a challenge and that investment in new infrastructure is vital, many have found the funding cuts hard to swallow. Although that’s not true for all, developers of merchant facilities are looking with anticipation at the opportunities the end of PFI could bring.
The Localism Bill looks set to change the planning arena, with some fearing that it will make an already challenging process even more difficult as local people are given more of a say over developments in their area. At the very least it will mean that engaging local communities and stakeholders will need to be done even more robustly and effectively.
However, there have been some positive messages from the centre. The new government has not shied away from promoting all forms of Energy from Waste with the National Infrastructure Plan recognising the valuable role it can play. And it’s not all doom and gloom on the funding front. The government is still committed to a Green Investment Bank, although it is still not clear how the waste industry will benefit from this.
2011 will see the results of DEFRA’s waste review published and a new strategy for the sector. Whatever direction this takes, the industry will hope that in practice it facilitates the development of new infrastructure rather than adding to the existing challenges.
Written by Stephen Byfield