The independent cross-party group, Policy Connect, has launched a call for evidence as part of an inquiry it has launched into the future of Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities in the UK.
And, the group said it wants to ensure the waste industry is “part of the discussion” in order to deliver a realistic report.
The inquiry will “particularly seek to inform the heat aspects of the EfW debate” and will explore whether an effective combined heat and power EfW system is the “best tool available” and how this is achieved.
According to Policy Connect, this inquiry will also look to explore the future for Energy from Waste within the UK’s residual waste management, alongside increased recycling rates and reduced reliance on landfill and exports.
In particular, it will look at the opportunities of, and barriers to, utilising heat on a wider scale such as planning/investment, and the social benefits this can provide to local communities.
Professor Margaret Bates of the University of Northampton, who is advising this project said:
“Until we reach a point where we no longer produce residual waste, we need to be managing it in the most efficient way. This inquiry will explore whether an effective combined heat and power EfW system is the best tool available to us at the moment, and how we can achieve this”.
On its website, Policy Connect describes itself as a membership-based not-for-profit, cross-party think tank.
Its members include parliamentarians in collaboration with academia, business and civil society.
Also included in its members are some of the largest waste companies in the UK, which between them operate the vast majority of EfW plants.
However, a spokesperson for Policy Connect says it’s this range of members allows its reports to be realistic.
“This blend of participants allows our reports to be firmly based on reality, rigorously evidence-based, as well as highly ambitious. Clearly, if we are to deal with the UK’s residual waste, alongside increased recycling targets, and reduced landfill/waste exports we need to consider the role that EfW can contribute, and how this might fit into the wider ambitions for a circular economy”.
The spokesperson added that they “want industry to be part of the discussion”, as will academic and NGO representatives and politicians. However, it confirmed that Policy Connect will be the final author and editor.
The call for evidence follows on from a report which Policy Connect launched in February of this year, where it called for a phase out of the export of plastics (see letsrecycle.com story)
Policy Connect stated that by handling more packaging waste at home, the UK will end the export of ‘over four Wembley stadiums full each year to countries with lower recycling and environmental standards’ – which it claims has contributed to leakage of plastics into the environment.