SESA: Scotland needs £1bn more investment in waste

The Scottish Environmental Services Association (SESA) has published a report urging the Scottish Government to remove barriers to industry growth in order to achieve its zero waste targets.

In June 2010 the Scottish Government published its Zero Waste Plan, which includes a ban on sending certain items to landfill to ensure that 70 per cent of Scotland’s waste is recycled by 2025.

This plan will be further supplemented in January 2014 when new Waste (Scotland) Regulations come into force requiring all businesses and councils to separate paper and card, plastic, metal and glass for recycling.

The ‘Waste to Resource: the Pathway to Zero Waste’ report, published yesterday (19 February), outlines steps the government can take to ensure that Scotland reaches its ‘ambitious recycling targets’.

Primarily, SESA urges that government now needs to address barriers surrounding planning applications to unlock around £1 billion of further investment needed for waste treatment infrastructure.

The report reads: ‘[M]ore… infrastructure is needed to achieve Scotland’s ambitious recycling targets. A £1 billion investment is required over the next decade in new waste treatment infrastructure in Scotland. Given constraints on the public purse, private sector investment is key to efficient delivery of integrated waste services and infrastructure.’

‘A lack of up-to-date development plans with adequate provision towards waste management continues to frustrate the industry’s investment in new waste management infrastructure.’

The report identifies that to address these ‘planning barriers’, the government should now be: ‘providing a clear and robust explanation of its waste management objectives, timelines and deliverables; ensuring expeditious preparation and adoption of local plans with adequate provision towards waste management; and encouraging local authorities to adopt a strategic approach to planning for waste management’.

Other recommendations to government outlined in the report include:

  • Producing a ‘simple, consistent technologically-neutral policy framework’ to allow market investment ‘drive the cost-effective delivery of waste management infrastructure’
  • Encouraging ‘closer collaborations between local authorities’ in the procurement of waste infrastructure (including joint planning and procurement)
  • Enabling an ‘informed, local debate’ and ‘closer liaison’ between local authorities and waste management companies
  • Creating ‘greater certainty that there will be zero tolerance of environmental criminals’ through ensuring that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is ‘adequately resourced to identify and target lawbreakers’.

The report concludes: “Key to the successful implementation of zero waste is certainty in national policy objectives; a level playing field which allows our industry to compete fairly; and confidence that the regulations will be enforced proportionately.”

Turning waste into resources

Speaking on the release of the report, Colin Paterson, Chairman of SESA’s Executive Committee, said: “SESA supports the new Waste (Scotland) Regulations as a strong foundation for promoting green growth and reducing the carbon emissions associated with managing the economy’s waste. Going forward, the role of our industry is to add further value and efficiency by turning more of Scotland’s waste into high quality resources that can be returned back into the productive economy.”

David Sigsworth of SEPA added: “It’s important that associations like SESA take stock and provide a representative view of the key challenges facing the industry.

“Understanding the industry’s perspective is particularly useful for SEPA in targeting our activities, determining our priorities and making the most effective use of our partnerships”, he continued.

Read SESA’s ‘Waste to Resource: the Pathway to Zero Waste’ report.