In the first ever study of its type, SITA UK commissioned research into what residents think of incentives to facilitate the development of new waste management facilities. The report found that offering personal benefits to those living near proposed plants would significantly increase community support for them.

The study, undertaken by Ray Georgeson Resources and GfK NOP, was based on a series of focus group sessions and face-to-face interviews with 1,000 residents to gather understanding of waste projects and thoughts on community buy-in options.

In the survey, just under half (45%) of residents surveyed were happy for a new facility to be built if the local community got something in return. Unsurprisingly, the research found that people typically do not consider what happens to their waste once it is collected from their doorstep.

The majority of respondents (60%) were unaware of the limited availability of landfill space. However, although many were new to the concept of energy-from-waste, a strong majority (79%) felt it was a good idea.

SITA UK’s CEO, David Palmer-Jones, said: “One of the clearest and more positive aspects of the Waste Policy Review was the proposal of a system of shared incentives with local communities to help facilitate the development of new waste management facilities.

“This report assesses and quantifies views about community buy-in for waste infrastructure for the very first time. Its findings are a real insight into the way people think and feel about waste infrastructure and the kind of conditions that they believe are acceptable in order to gain their support.”

The report makes three key recommendations. Firstly, that more research is needed into the levels of community incentives, secondly that local authorities should incorporate thinking around community incentives early on in their development plans, and third, that if chosen, utility discount incentives should be attributed to the property not the property owner.

Maxine Perella

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