Specialists play key role in brownfield development

Craig Sillars, Managing Director of Churngold Remediation Ltd, identifies short-term concerns over brownfield development and puts the case for identifying specialist remediation contractors capable of addressing the most complex remediation issues.


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The Government has introduced a number of pieces of new legislation to act

as drivers for brownfield redevelopment in order to promote urban regeneration

and achieve construction of 60% of new houses on sites that have had a former

use. In the long term, the market for the services of specialist remediation

contractors is almost certain to expand. However, at the time of writing (December

2001) the rapid implementation of the Landfill Directive, before the effect

on brownfield regeneration has been properly addressed, and, in particular,

the associated definition of what is “waste”, may have a short detrimental

effect on the remediation market.

WRAP – The Waste and Resources Action Programme – is making its presence felt

with a widening range of initiatives, the latest of which, a new Business Development

Service, aims to acts as “marriage service” to deliver investment

in recycling.

The intention is to translate the much-vaunted good intentions many businesses

express under the umbrella of “ethical investment” and “going

green”, into reality.

Speaking at the launch of the new scheme on 29 January, Dr Alistair Keddie,

Director of Environment and Innovation Services at the DTI, highlighted the

significance of WRAP’s role in the Government’s resource productivity agenda

and the importance of the environment industry to the UK economy.

“Current estimates indicate that the global market for environmental products

and services will rise from £240 billion in 2000 to £450 billion

in 2010,” he said. “The UK recycling sector has the opportunity to

expand significantly as part of that growth, and this represents a new and exciting

opportunity for the financial community.”

One of WRAP’s main objectives is to bolster market confidence in the recycling

sector and find ways to improve the economics of recycling, including a target

to lever a minimum of an additional £10 million a year into the sector.

The new Business Development Service will provide comprehensive support to

recycling businesses, particularly small and medium sized enterprises, in putting

together strong investment proposals and identifying the best sources of capital.

It will forge strong links with the financial community, build up a network

of potential investors and increase confidence in the recycling sector.

Research funding

Also last month WRAP announced £3.6 million funding for 21 major R&D

research projects aimed at increasing the use of recycled material in the UK.

Part of WRAP’s first round of R&D projects within its Materials R&D

Programme, the research will explore innovative recycling methods and new uses

for recycled materials, including glass, plastics and wood. More than 60% of

the funding will be provided by WRAP, which is contributing over £3.6

million towards the expected total cost of £5.6 million.

Newsprint reprocessing

In the newsprint recycling field WRAP also made its presence felt by announcing

a change of the preferred bidder status of the two companies remaining in its

competition for support for newsprint reprocessing capacity.

WRAP stated that Shotton Paper Company, of Deeside, North Wales, is now the

preferred bidder to receive support under the competition, replacing Aylesford

Newsprint, which was originally appointed preferred bidder in November 2001.

According to WRAP: “Since November, WRAP and Aylesford Newsprint have

been in intensive negotiations with a view to finalising the contract for provision

of financial support. At the beginning of January, Aylesford Newsprint made

a significant change in the proposals they were putting forward.

“WRAP cannot provide details of that change due to the commercial confidentiality

of the negotiations. However, the introduction of an additional condition to

the bid led the WRAP board to conclude that Aylesford was not now in a position

to execute a contract giving certainty that new capacity would be delivered

within a timescale that fulfils the objectives of the competition, and therefore

decided to remove their preferred bidder status.”

WRAP added that its expert assessment panel shared its view.

In response, Aylesford Newsprint issued a statement saying it is reassuring

local authorities and other suppliers that it is “business as usual”

following the WRAP decision over the November tender competition which had been

designed to increase the recycling of used newspapers and magazines.

“While we are disappointed at WRAP’s decision,” said Recycling Manager

Chris White, “the Aylesford recycling team remains committed to helping

local authorities and others achieve their recycling targets and committed to

taking all the tonnage generated by local authorities who sign contracts with

us. We look forward to continued and successfully relationships with these groups.”

He added: “We believe, both for environmental and technical reasons, that

the Aylesford site remains the right location for further investment.”

Packaging prosecutions

The Environment Agency is maintaining its vigorous pursuit of companies who

fail to comply with the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste)

Regulations.

Among recent cases reported by the Agency, in a successful prosecution on 23

January, Southampton Magistrates told a supplier of prepackaged aggregate to

the construction industry, JPM Aggregates Ltd, that being ignorant of the producer

responsibility regulations for packaging waste was not an acceptable excuse

for failing to register.

The company confirmed that it had not been registered for the year 2000 but

explained that it did not know it had to register. In mitigation it explained

that it had no intention to save money by not registering.

Additionally, the company added that it had immediately registered when it

realised it was an obligated producer and had given an early guilty plea. The

magistrates said that they had appreciated it had been a mistake but that was

not an acceptable excuse.

On 16 January 2002, Gloucestershire company Lister-Petter, of Long Street,

Dursley, pleaded guilty at Stroud Magistrates to four charges relating to the

company failing to meet conditions of the Producer Responsibility Obligations

(Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997.

The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £1,135 costs.

Speaking after the case, an Agency officer said: “UK companies produce

approximately 12 million tonnes of waste packaging. The packaging regulations

are aimed at reducing this quantity of waste being landfilled and promoting

the recycling of packaging. It is important that every company with a turnover

of over £2million as year is aware of their responsibilities under these

regulations and help us to meet the UK’s national target, set by the European

Commission, for recycling packaging waste.”

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