Eunomia Report Warns of Looming Residual Waste Treatment Overcapacity in GB

There is currently 5.7 million tonnes of residual waste treatment capacity under construction in Great Britain and a risk of overcapacity in the market, according to environmental consultancy firm, Eunomia.

There is currently 5.7 million tonnes of residual waste treatment capacity under construction in Great Britain and total capacity will reach 17 million tonnes by 2017, according to the sixth issue of the Residual Waste Infrastructure Review published today by environmental consultancy firm, Eunomia.

The report draws upon data from local authorities’ annual WasteDataFlow returns, Defra’s latest C&I data and Eunomia’s in-house Facilities Database, which is claimed to hold information on all residual treatment facilities in the UK (both operating and under development).

The authors explained that the data was analysed on both a national and regional basis, to provide a detailed picture of where insufficient or excess capacity is anticipated.

The report, which cautioned against the spectre of overcapacity of residual waste treatment capacity such as waste to energy facilities, noted that total treatment capacity will have grown by more than 130% since 2009, from 7 million tonnes per year to 17 million tonnes.

There is also reported to currently be an additional 20.8 million tonnes of waste treatment capacity with planning permission, while planning consent is being sought for a further 4.1 million tonnes per year of waste treatment capacity.

Eunomia said that its modelling suggests that even if no further facilities reach financial close, with committed capacity alone, the UK would still reach a situation of overcapacity of around 0.5 million tonnes in 2018/19.

“This latest Review demonstrates the speed at which residual treatment capacity continues to grow,” commented Adam Baddeley, the report’s lead author.

“In those regions where overcapacity is already becoming an issue, we would expect to see operators charging low gate fees at their facilities to attract waste from further afield. Operators cannot ignore the interactions between supply and demand,” he cautioned.

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