Advantage West Midlands (AWM), the Regional Development Agency for the area, has unveiled a landfill diversion strategy that it believes can bring jobs and investment while creating a world-class waste infrastructure.

The strategy was created to address an anticipated lack of infrastructure, with predictions suggesting that by 2021 the region will be producing some 3.7million tonnes more waste than it can deal with every year.

Central to the strategy is the identification of specific locations that could be used to house waste infrastructure, and an outline of which technologies might be appropriate for each of these sites.

Each site had to pass a suitability test using what the RDA is calling ‘robust criteria’ which cover issues such as proximity to communities, consideration of areas of outstanding natural beauty, availability of utilities and, of course, local need for more waste facilities.

The strategy looks at a wide range of technologies from composting and recycling to incineration, combined heat and power and mechanical and biological treatment.

Mark Pearce, AWM’s corporate director for economic regeneration, said: “This is a real step forward for the region and a first for the UK.

“We anticipate it will stimulate discussions to accelerate the process to create new waste facilities as an alternative to landfill. The West Midlands now has a clear strategy ensuring it is a leader in waste industries.”

Peter Jones, independent waste sector advisor and chair of the Waste Infrastructure Advisory Group added: “We have no choice but to develop new waste infrastructures to divert waste from landfill.

“In the West Midlands, we have a real opportunity to raise the bar on standards and performance and be recognised for demonstrating leadership and stimulating business.

“The Landfill Diversion Strategy is a cornerstone of our programme and above all will help all parties to understand the locations which are most suitable opportunities for their needs.”

Sam Bond

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