Defra Forecasts Greater Over Capacity Than Expected

Defra has revised its forecasting for 2020 waste arisings and treatment capacity,amending the 54-56 percent overcapacity it forecasted in 2013 to 65-57 percent.

The new calculation includes the expectation that the level of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) in residual waste is lower than previously estimated.

Defra also says the impact of Veolia’s proposed Hatfield energy from waste plant in Hertfordshire would result in greater over-capacity than it originally calculated.

Using new data indicates an over-capacity of 65 percent by 2020 if the plant is not operational and an over-capacity of 67 percent if it is.

Eric Pickles threw out the Hatfield site, which was awarded £115.3m in PFI credits in 2011, due to Green Belt planning. Veolia plans to take its appeal to the High Court.

Defra – “This has a significant impact on the analysis because, for any given level of municipal waste to landfill, a smaller proportion is counted as relevant to the landfill target”

“This has a significant impact on the analysis because, for any given level of municipal waste to landfill, a smaller proportion is counted as relevant to the landfill target,” the Defra report states. “Indeed, the new research implies that BMW to landfill in 2012 was already within the level required for the 2020 target.”

Forecasts are used to assess the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that goes to landfill and hence whether England is expected to meet the diversion levels in 2020 that are necessary for the UK to achieve the target under the EU Landfill Directive.

This is the second time Defra has revised its 2020 forecasting since publishing it first in February 2013. It revised the original document in October 2013 because the analysis did not fully account for all of the known potential capacity expected to be delivered by 2020.

“This meant that the likelihood of meeting the target was underestimated,” Defra stated last year.

PFI Appeal

As a result of the report Defra has withdrawn PFI credits for the Hatfield proposals.

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has appealed to Defra not to withdraw PFI credits from outstanding waste infrastructure projects.

ESA’s Economist, Jacob Hayler said: “ESA is of the firm view that Defra would be wrong to withdraw yet more PFI credits from outstanding waste infrastructure projects. Such a decision would only serve to increase the UK’s reliance on a combination of landfill and overseas plants to treat our residual waste.

ESA – “Defra has changed its assumptions on waste composition to make the targets easier to meet, but this short sighted view of meeting the targets but going no further fails to address the 17 million tonnes of standard rate material which we continue to send to landfill”

“Defra has changed its assumptions on waste composition to make the targets easier to meet, but this short sighted view of meeting the targets but going no further fails to address the 17 million tonnes of standard rate material which we continue to send to landfill.

“Defra’s analysis also fails to account properly for the risk that the millions of tonnes of residual waste exported as Refuse Derived Fuel will fail to find a home in the future, when the European economy recovers and spare overseas capacity dries up.

“The undermining of yet more local authority projects would only reinforce the industry’s view that the Government is unwilling to help support new waste infrastructure, which has been identified by the European Commission and many others as a key source of green investment and jobs.”

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