Waste industry gives cautious welcome to infrastructure plan
The waste sector has given a mixed reaction to Chancellor's George Osbourne's Autumn Statement today (November 29).
While many broadly welcomed the publication of the National Infrastructure Plan, concerns were raised that not enough was being done to boost the green economy.
The Resource Association, the new voice for the reprocessing and recycling industries, said the statement was "a missed opportunity" to give the waste sector the confidence it needed.
In a statement, its chief executive Ray Georgeson said: "While we wait with impatience for the launch of the Green Investment Bank and real progress following the Government's Waste Review, the Autumn Statement represents another missed opportunity to give the UK green economy the signals and the boost it needs to ensure our industry can work to its strengths."
However it welcomed elements of the statement today, specifically the National Infrastructure Plan, the announcement of funds and a taskforce to target scrap metal thieves and illegal scrap traders, and support for energy-intensive manufacturing, especially in the papermaking sector.
Publication of the infrastructure plan was also met with approval by the Environmental Services Association (ESA). ESA's director of policy, Matthew Farrow, said: "The recognition of the importance of new waste treatment facilities and the role they can play in stimulating green growth is something the industry has long been calling for.
"The waste sector is ready to invest, but must be given the right investment climate to provide the potential boost to jobs and GDP that the industry is ready to make. ESA has previously estimated that £7.5bn of capital investment in waste infrastructure is required to meet EU landfill diversion targets.
"This new infrastructure would generate 25,000 permanent new jobs and could add a fresh £2bn to the UK's GDP. It is time that the Government unlocked this potential."
Leading waste contractor May Gurney echoed this sentiment, saying in a statement that "infrastructure is a critical foundation for economic growth". However it warned that this must be backed up by a "strategic vision for maintaining existing infrastructure".