Skip to main content

Waste Disposal

Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of waste facilities required to meet the commitments entered into under the European Landfill Directive; how many such waste facilities exist; how many new ones are (a) under construction and (b) planned; and if he will make a statement. (167132)

No specific estimate has been made by my Department on the number of waste facilities needed. However, DEFRA’s Waste Infrastructure Delivery Programme (WIDP) is maintaining a national overview of existing and planned residual treatment capacity to ensure that resources are applied in the most effective manner. It is the responsibility of local authorities, working on their own or in partnership with neighbouring authorities, to procure waste management facilities suited to local needs.

While we are confident that we have enough infrastructure in place to meet our 2010 EU Landfill Directive target, current estimates suggest that we still require an increase in diversion capacity to allow us to meet the 2013 and 2020 targets. This infrastructure will help to facilitate an increase in both recycling and composting and diversion from landfill. The number of facilities required will depend upon the nature of waste delivery authority procurements, the technology selected and the size of individual plants.

We are currently aware of 81 plants across England (covering a range of treatment and disposal technologies) that are scheduled to become operational from 2008 onwards. These will potentially provide the capacity to treat an extra 10.3 million tonnes of municipal waste. With the ongoing engagement WIDP is undertaking with authorities, the combination of authorities’ ambitions and the utilisation of the £2 billion private finance initiative credits recently announced in the comprehensive spending review, the Government believe sufficient infrastructure can be delivered to meet our obligations under the Landfill Directive.

It remains vital that regional spatial strategies and local development documents look forward and make adequate provision for the appropriate types and scales of infrastructure and waste treatment facilities needed. It is also important for specific and suitable sites to be identified in local plans.