Developments in the Waste Strategy have been long awaited and much debated. At best they could unlock some of the barriers to both waste and energy infrastructure development - at worst they could result in recourse to more debate, and a loss of vital inward investment.
While the financial climate remains difficult, it's no surprise that many of those local authorities who are still to put residual waste solutions in place have had to take a step back to reconsider their options. But the UK cannot afford a protracted period of reconsideration if we are to deliver the required waste and energy capacity to meet targets and actual need. While last year's announcements proved to be a damp squib, early indicators suggest that these new changes will have a positive impact.
Government energy policy has already identified EfW as one of a handful of technologies that are critical to delivering energy security and low carbon objectives. It is our belief, however, that if we are to deliver the full potential of EfW, we are going to need to exploit resources beyond the municipal sector, especially the energy value of residual Commercial & Industrial (C&I) waste.
Joining up the dots of all of these combined waste and energy considerations, and taking into account planning and localism, is an enormous challenge - for government and for those working within the sector.
Covanta is the largest Energy-from-Waste provider in the world, operating 46 plants worldwide. The company has more than 25 years' experience and treats over 18 million tonnes or residual waste annually from which it derives more than 9 million megawatt hours of sustainable energy.
Covanta is making a considerable investment into the UK and Irish Energy-from-Waste markets, making up to 2 million tonnes of EfW capacity available over the next five years. Through this programme Covanta will be investing in communities, through job creation and community partnerships.