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UK heading for treatment gap, warns ESA chairman

By 29/11/2017News

The UK is heading for under capacity in residual waste treatment, the chairman of the Environmental Services Association has warned.

The comment from ESA chair Dr Stewart Davies came last Friday at the association’s annual lunch and ahead of the publication of a report from the association on residual waste treatment capacity.


Dr Stewart Davies, chair of the ESA, speaking at the association’s recent annual lunch in London

Carried out by the Tolvik consultancy, the research is expected to conclude from a review of other research that the UK is heading towards a shortage of capacity. There has been some controversy over the amount of new facilities, especially energy from waste which will be needed, and the connection with the export of RDF to Europe. While most consultants and industry agree that there is a shortage of capacity, consultancy Eunomia has expressed the view that there could be over rather than undercapacity.

Clear outcome

Dr Davies told his waste management and services audience: “To get engagement in this issue and facilitate a clear outcome that the sector can move forward with, ESA commissioned Tolvik’s review of all of the available forecasts from across the industry. This is due to be published imminently. This review demonstrates that for all scenarios, apart from the most unrealistic recycling rates, the UK is heading for under-capacity in residual waste treatment.”

The research findings will be included in evidence provided to the National Infrastructure Commission, which is undertaking a review of the UK’s needs for solid waste treatment infrastructure. Dr Davies noted: “As well as signalling need for developing the infrastructure we are highlighting the requirement for policy stability needed to encourage essential investment in treatment capacity.”

Health and safety

He also told his audience about the importance of maintaining health and safety standards and reflected that figures from ESA members showed that they were making progress in the “right direction”.

“Year on year, our performance has compared favourably with the rest of our industry,” said Dr Davies. “HSE data published this month for the industry as a whole, showed injuries fell by 3% since 2014. But ESA’s data reveal that our Members, which account for more than a third of all those employed in the industry, have achieved a 37% reduction in injuries over this same period.”

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Source: Waste Managment