The Confederation of British Industries (CBI) has called on the coalition government to bring in measures to encourage local authorities to divert more waste from landfill to be used in waste-to-energy plants and anaerobic digestion.
A CBI report argues the proportion of energy generated from waste could be increased from 1.5% to 6% within five years if the planning system was reformed and incentives to encourage waste-to-energy plant investment were introduced.
Going to Waste: Making the Case for Energy From Waste claims waste-to-energy plants and anaerobic digestion are technically feasible but are held back by planning permission difficulties and high up-front costs.
With the UK set to face European Union fines of about £182m if it fails to meet looming landfill targets, the CBI said that the economic case for waste-to-energy plants is strengthening. However this is set against a CBI estimate of £10bn of investment that would be required to improve the UK’s waste treatment infrastructure sufficiently.
Neil Bentley, CBI director of business environment, said: “We cannot continue dumping rubbish in landfill sites.
“Waste that can’t be recycled could be used to heat homes and produce electricity, as well as improving our energy security.
“The government needs to encourage the development of more anaerobic digestion and incineration plants, and tackle delays in the planning system.”
“Joined-up thinking is crucial to ensure government policy recognises the interaction between these joined-up policies,” the report said.