£1bn investment needed in Scottish waste revamp
A £1bn push on waste infrastructure is needed in the next decade if Scotland is to meet its zero waste objectives and avoid substantial fines.
According to the Scottish Environmental Services Association (SESA), the trade association representing Scotland's waste management and secondary resources industry, failure to invest in a network of waste management infrastructure could result in EU infraction fines of up to £500,000 a day.
This week SESA launched a report, Waste to Resource: the Pathway to Zero Waste, which sets out the industry's role in meeting the Zero Waste Plan, committing the country to recycle 70% of its waste by 2025.
In the report, SESA argues that given constraints on the public purse, it is crucial that public investment is unlocked to contribute towards an improved waste management infrastructure.
In addition, the report sets out other policy recommendations which include reducing planning risk, generating informed debate at local level and cracking down on illegal waste crime.
Speaking to stakeholders, Colin Paterson, SESA Executive Committee chairman said: "SESA supports the new Waste (Scotland) Regulations as a strong foundation for promoting green growth and reducing the carbon emissions associated with managing the economy's waste.
"Going forward, the role of our industry is to add further value and efficiency by turning more of Scotland's waste into high quality resources that can be returned back into the productive economy".
According to Paterson, certainty in national policy objectives, a level playing field which allows the industry to compete fairly, and confidence that the regulations will be enforced proportionately are crucial to the successful implementation of zero waste.
SESA says its members are strongly committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and, driven by the European Landfill Directive, have reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill by 70% over the last 15 years.
The report also says that energy from waste is an essential part of Scotland's future energy mix because it diverts waste from landfill and can help Scotland meet its ambitious target of generating 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.