Finance still biggest hurdle to meeting residual waste treatment capacity demands
Finance remains a key barrier to building waste treatment facilities in the UK, even after planning consent has been secured, according to research from Tolvik Consulting.
Tolvik’s annual briefing report on UK residual waste shows that over the past 12 months, construction of new residual waste treatment plants in England and Wales accounted for just 0.6M tonnes of capacity, despite 1.9M tonnes of plant capacity receiving planning permission.
The majority of these facilities relate to large scale energy-from-waste plants. The report notes that across the UK there is a total 19.4M tonnes of consented residual waste treatment plant capacity with a further 10.4M tonnes yet to secure planning permission.
Much of this consented capacity is looking to source around 9M tonnes of residual commercial and industrial (C&I) waste as the primary source of feedstock.
However, in many cases these planned merchant facilities will have to compete for waste, both with spare capacity at local authority-backed facilities and, at least in the short term, refuse-derived fuel exports.
The challenge going forward for developers will be in aggregating sufficient residual C&I waste within a reasonable catchment area so as to make a competitive offering and a proposition which is attractive to investors.