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Shanks calls for the Government to look to Scotland for a more ambitious and realistic waste strategy

While Shanks expects the UK Government’s ambitions set out in the Waste Policy Review (expected to be announced tomorrow, Tuesday 13 June) to be a step forward, it also fears that the UK may miss the opportunity to introduce policies that are actually going to make a significant impact.

There is a lot we could learn from our neighbours north of the border who have adopted much tougher targets that makes the vision for a ‘zero waste’ society a
realistic possibility rather than just lofty ambitions.

Outright bans on landfill for specific waste types, separate collection of food waste and restrictions on input to energy from waste facilities are just some of the measures taken in Scotland that England could adopt.

Waste should be reused, recycled and recovered to provide valuable resources and green sources of energy. There are a host of new technologies available that provide a sustainable alternative to landfill and incineration. However, for waste to really reach its potential quickly and on a large scale, we believe the Government needs to better address:

· Planning delays – by addressing uncertainty at the local level with planning system reform and incentivising local communities to support new infrastructure.

On average, it has taken seven years for a waste management company to get a plant running, of which four years are typically spent in the planning process.

· The need for a coherent, cross-departmental approach that allows the waste sector to contribute to energy diversity and security.

For example, by reviewing the regulations that currently class solid recovered fuel (SRF) as waste and instead classing it as a product, SRF could make a far greater contribution to the energy mix, thus increasing the economic value of waste.

· Continued commitment to AD and other innovative waste treatment technologies as alternatives to landfill and incineration.

While Shanks is fully supportive of any Government initiative that captures energy value from waste, it doesn’t necessarily agree that this should be via mass burn incineration. Both AD and MBT produce a more refined outputs with broader uses, such as Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) which is used to power cement kilns.

· Long-term clarity about future waste policy to offer certainty, confidence and a more compelling case for investors.

. It is estimated that by 2020 some £10bn will need to be invested in new waste management infrastructure, mostly by the private sector.

· Separate collections of specific waste types, particularly food, to increase opportunities to recycle rather than landfill, and contribute to renewable energy targets

Shanks is a leader in using AD technology, with one million tonnes of organic waste treatment capacity. Shanks and Scottish based Energen Biogas have established a joint venture (JV) to develop an AD facility in Cumbernauld, Glasgow. Customers will benefit from reduced disposal costs using Energen’s experience of the food industry and Shanks’ proven Orgaworld AD technology. The facility will start receiving food waste this summer.

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