Business leaders seek joined-up policy to fuel energy recovery

Businesses support the role of energy recovery in the future of waste management, but would like to see a joint conversation across government on how it can be achieved.

That was the message coming from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) at keynote seminar in Westminster yesterday (9 June) ahead of next week’s publication of the Government’s long-awaited Waste Review and anaerobic digestion strategy.

Speaking at a panel session, CBI’s policy adviser on the environment, Hayley Conboy, said the business community was quite optimistic about the review because it offered a real opportunity for the UK to achieve its ambitions on energy recovery.

“Energy recovery from waste can play a broader role in our management of energy security and the plan to have a diversified energy mix for the future,” she said.

But Conboy warned that the market for energy recovery could only grow if government joined-up policy across its departments to help implement the change away from a reliance on landfill.

“What we’d like to see is not just Caroline Spelman’s announcement, but a joint conversation across government about how it’s going to be achieved,” she said.

Conboy told the packed session that a waste policy alone would not lead to a growth in energy recovery from waste. Issues around access to finance, procurement and skills also needed to be resolved.

She went onto say that the business community was looking to a range of government departments to implement change, including the Treasury, the Cabinet Office, BiS and DCLG.

“If we are going to achieve the £10BN investment in waste infrastructure that we need by 2020, it is not just on Defra to help us achieve that,” she said.

“What we are hearing from companies is that they are looking to DECC on incentives … the things that are changing are not just coming from Defra, they are coming from DECC too.”

Looking ahead, Conboy said the CBI supported the Government’s forthcoming green economy road map, due out in July, which will provide the certainty that the business community needs to invest in a green economy.

Nick Warburton

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