United Kingdom – The UK faces ‘a severe shortage’ of vital waste treatment infrastructure over the next decade, warns waste management major Suez.
The shortage relates primarily to a lack of energy-from-waste (EfW) power plants, which are replacing landfill sites as the preferred, more sustainable solution for non-recyclable ‘residual’ waste.
According to Suez, UK landfills are closing at a faster rate than anticipated, with some regions facing the ‘virtual elimination’ of easily-accessible landfill sites within the next five years. This will put additional pressure on what it describes as ‘scarce’ alternative EfW treatment capacity.
David Palmer-Jones, ceo of Suez recycling and recovery UK, told the RWM trade show in Birmingham: ‘Our projections show that there is a serious long-term shortfall in the UK’s vital waste management infrastructure and a potential disaster scenario now looming in the event of a hard Brexit.’
‘Hard borders, import tariffs and a weakening sterling will make waste exports to Europe, which the UK continues to rely upon, financially unviable,’ he argued. ‘Instead, the waste we currently export in the absence of sufficient domestic energy-from-waste capacity, will be re-shored into remaining, expensive UK landfill – at a high cost to British businesses, tax-payers and the environment.’
Suez’s findings contradict a recently-published report by environmental consultancy Eunomia, which found that the UK’s supply of waste treatment capacity will exceed the available quantity of residual waste in 2020/21.
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