Growing public acceptance of new waste facilities was one of the most positive outcomes to emerge from the Morgan Sindall survey, which was carried out at last month’s RWM exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham.

More than 200 visitors to the show were quizzed on their views of the waste and energy-from-waste sectors and on hot topics like the planning system, legislative targets and new forms of energy generation.

On the issue of the planning process, which historically has posed significant problems for waste industry developers, respondents noted a positive shift to more acceptance of new waste infrastructure.

Of those asked, 38% agreed that the age of the NIMBY is passing, and has been replaced by ‘PIMBY’ (Please In My Back Yard) or people who increasingly recognise the social and economic benefits of new developments.

The survey also uncovered some fascinating views on controversial issues such as the concept of recovering energy from crematoria, which has come under the spotlight recently after Redditch Borough Council announced plans earlier this year to heat a local swimming pool using the energy from a crematorium.

When asked their views towards recovering energy from crematoria as a new form of energy generation, a surprisingly high 77% agreed that it was “a great idea”.

The issue of legislative targets also revealed some interesting responses from visitors. An overwhelming 80% felt that the UK would achieve government targets to increase the amount of energy generated from renewable sources to 15% by 2020.

More than one-in-three respondents thought that legislation has been the most important factor in the UK achieving current levels of recycling, energy and carbon reduction against 46% who felt that financial factors had been the most decisive.

One of the most interesting responses was to the question on technology or process that had the biggest role to play in transforming waste management in the UK. Anaerobic digestion emerged as the most popular choice with 33%, followed by incineration (26%), gasification (8%) and pyrolysis (7%).

Morgan Sindall’s waste sector leader Andy King said: “Our recent experience is that many people accept that new buildings can help regenerate communities, provide jobs and contribute to their neighbourhoods. They see that the investment new development can bring is desperately needed. The survey findings echo this.”

Nick Warburton

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