Organic waste study wins Ofwat support

Industry regulator Ofwat is supporting a study by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into the market for treating organic waste, including anaerobic digestion.

Industry regulator Ofwat is supporting a study by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into the market for treating organic waste, including anaerobic digestion. The study, which the OFT expects to complete in July, will look at whether the market is working effectively to deliver the best outcomes for customers. The OFT decided to launch the study having considering a proposal and request from Ofwat. Cathryn Ross, director of Markets and Economics at Ofwat, said: “Looking carefully at how we regulate sludge, is part of our much wider review of how we regulate to deliver a sustainable water and wastewater sector that can deliver for customers for decades to come. By sharing best practice and tapping into the OFT’s expertise, we will make better informed decisions about how – or even if – we regulate organic waste in the sewerage sector.” Heather Clayton, OFT senior director of Infrastructure, said: “Advanced organic waste treatment techniques like anaerobic digestion offer tremendous opportunities to produce clean energy and reduce unnecessary waste. We need to make sure that the conditions are right to maximise the potential for these technologies to benefit the UK.” The OFT will lead on the study and utilise its experience in conducting market studies and of the municipal, commercial and industrial organic waste sectors. It will be supported by a team from Ofwat. The study will include: • Whether price regulation of sewage-sludge treatment, recycling and disposal services remains appropriate, what scope there is to encourage greater competition, and what implications this may have for economic regulation • Whether there are any barriers specific to efficient investment in and use of ‘co-treatment’ where waste from a variety of different sources is treated at a single facility The OFT expects to conclude the study in July, in time for any recommendations to feed into Ofwat’s wider review of economic regulation in the water and sewerage sector.

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