UK paper industry calls for policy review on raw materials

MPs must evaluate their policies on raw materials, energy and water, to ensure that the UK Paper Industry remains competitive in the global arena, says the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).

In his September briefing to Members of Parliament, CPI director general, David Workman, says the industry continues to have issues with the quality of materials from the waste stream, and has called on MPs to realise that “some fundamental changes in approach are needed”.

Workman proposes a more uniform approach to collection systems, encourages local authorities to segregate all materials into separate streams, more incentives to invest in the latest processing technologies and to ensure that the current definition of “end of waste” for paper is retained.

CPI is also pressing for tighter controls on materials used in the generation of energy from waste (EfW) and wants to see the same incentives applied to the use of unrecyclable material in on-site industrial Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants that are currently available for the use of biomass.

Workman said: ‘We need to develop internationally agreed sustainability criteria for the use of wood and remove subsidies for its use in large scale energy generation.”

The briefing continues by highlighting energy security and access to supplies of gas and electricity at internationally competitive prices as two main priorities for the papermaking sector. He also states that the UK’s energy policy needs to focus on “exploiting its own energy resources – cleaner coal and shale gas”.

Workman said: “If the current direction on energy policy is to continue, we need to follow the example set by Germany and ensure that Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs) are not disadvantaged over the transition period.”

Workman addresses water as another critical area of concern for the Industry, as a secure, consistent and continuous supply of fresh water is vital to the industry.

CPI is seeking to ensure water companies become more efficient in planning water needs, a strategic water storage system and recognition that any charges should take account of water used and water returned to the environment.

Workman said: “Future regulation needs to use managing water risk as the driver for water efficiency – not simply price.”

His comments echo those of the European Environment Agency, who today said that water should be priced to reflect purifying and transportation costs.

Leigh Stringer

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