Public warming to ‘social value’ of energy-from-waste

Public acceptance for energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities is growing especially if such infrastructure can be linked to community benefit packages, new research has shown.

According to a study from PPS Group, the vast majority (78%) of the population considers having an EfW facility built in their local community as either acceptable or very acceptable. This compares favourably against onshore wind farms (73%) and solar farms (83%).

Furthermore 85% of respondents agreed that every community in the UK should play its part in utilising domestic energy resources to help the country meet its energy needs.

Location and impact on local environment were cited as the most important factors in determining whether or not to support or oppose a development.
The most favoured model of community benefit was a subsidy towards household energy bills, with shares in the development also ranking highly.

Less than half of people thought that community funds which contribute to local projects would make a difference in whether they would support or oppose a development.

District or county councils were considered best placed to ensure that local communities maximise the community benefit from energy developments in their area.

PPS Group’s Rebecca Eatwell said that the research, which surveyed 2,000 respondents across the UK, backed up the company’s own “grassroots experience”.

“It is interesting that EfW has ranked so highly when compared to other energy developments, which could suggest that the industry’s attempts to rebrand ‘incineration’ are working,” she observed.

Maxine Perella

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