UK to reach residual waste treatment overcapacity

Waste management consultancy Eunomia has today (29 November) published its biannual review into residual waste infrastructure, which shows that the UK will have almost seven million tonnes more capacity than residual waste needing treatment by 2015/16.

According to the third issue of the ‘Residual Waste Infrastructure Review’, the UK currently produces 26.9 million tonnes of residual waste per annum, and has 16.9 million tonnes of residual waste treatment capacity that is either operational or being built (1.1 million in the past six months). This means that there is currently a residual waste capacity deficit of 12.7 million tonnes.

However, planning consent for residual waste treatment capacity is being granted ‘faster than applications are being made’, and without any change in residual waste quantities, by 2015/16, there would be ‘overcapacity of 6.9 million tonnes per annum if the 19.6 million tonnes of waste treatment capacity that has planning consent reaches financial close and subsequent operation’.

In addition to this, a further 4.4 million tonnes of capacity is undergoing a process of achieving planning consent (2.5 million in the past six months).


The lead author of the review, Adam Baddeley, said: “The evidence shows that all regions of the UK are on track to reach sufficient or over-capacity of residual treatment infrastructure between 2015 and 2018.

“The forthcoming end of the Renewable Obligation (RO) regime and uncertainty over forthcoming Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) is hastening the development of many incineration and gasification projects and the evidence shows there will be an acceleration of the development of infrastructure capacity, beyond even the rates seen in the last six months.”

Eunomia’s previous bi-annual report, released in May, warned that Britain could see overcapacity of 4.7 million tonnes, but this has now been revised up to 6.9 million tonnes due to ongoing applications for incinerators and other residual waste treatment facilities.

Read the Residual Waste Infrastructure Review.