Landfill on the wane as materials recovery takes flight

Landfill continues to decline in the UK as evidence reveals that just 5% of all planning applications submitted during 2012 for new waste facilities related to landfill disposal.

Waste arisings are increasingly being treated at other facilities – more than half of planning consents granted last year related to materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and other recycling plants, as well as transfer stations. These are either new facilities or extensions to existing sites.

The growth of anaerobic digestion is also apparent – this sector now represents more than 10% of waste facilities. The findings stem from the latest BDS Marketing Research study, which monitors planning applications and consents for all waste facilities on a daily basis.

Commenting on the report, BDS principal consultant Julian Clapp said: “When we first started monitoring proposals for new waste facilities, over 20 years ago, the vast majority referred to landfill.”

Of the consents that were granted at landfill sites, typically these related to time extensions, rather than expansion of void space. Planning permissions for additional void at landfill sites taking municipal waste are now rare.

The study also showed that waste management companies continue to be largely successful in obtaining consent for new facilities.

Out of around 800 planning applications picked up by BDS during 2012, over a half were consented. A quarter remain to be decided, whilst 15% were either refused or withdrawn.

Maxine Perella

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