Environment at crossroads as Biffa calls for new strategy

The UK’s environmental strategy is at a crossroads and it is crucial both government and industry come together to fully capitalise on a post-Brexit world.

That’s the plea from the UK’s leading waste and resource company Biffa in a major new report entitled ‘The Reality Gap 2017’ to be launched later this month.

Biffa claims it is vital all sides act now because the UK has the opportunity to shape its environmental direction for years to come. And the Company says it has never been so important for this aligned strategy because there are major realities that need to be accepted and confronted.

The report acknowledges that the UK has achieved a great deal when it comes to improving its environmental credentials – from recycling to Energy from Waste (‘EfW’). But it highlights a series of key challenges that need to be addressed if the entire waste and resource industry is to remain a productive part of the wider economy.

Firstly, recycling levels have plateaued. Levels of recycling have improved substantially over the last decade: the UK now recycles around 45% of household waste and nearly 60% of commercial and industrial waste. However, without further Government intervention through regulation or financial stimulus, the sector risks running out of steam; depriving the UK of an important economic resource as well as failing to further benefit the environment.

Secondly, the UK needs to develop an improved residual waste strategy to capitalise on EfW. Almost 14 million tonnes of waste per year are currently sent to various EfW facilities to produce sustainable energy which is sold back into the Grid. A better infrastructure is required if the nation is to more effectively convert residual waste  – waste that cannot be processed in any other way – into energy.

And thirdly, the UK needs to take an honest look at Landfill and accept it still has a role to play in the waste hierarchy. There is simply no alternative to Landfill when it comes to dealing with those wastes which are non-recyclable and non-combustible, says Biffa.

Current Landfill capacity is running out and replacement sites will need to be developed if the UK is to avoid a disposal crisis in the next ten years.

Biffa CEO Ian Wakelin has called on all parties involved in the waste industry – from regulators to waste companies – to take an imaginative and collaborative approach when drawing up the UK’s strategy following our departure from the EU.

He says, “The UK has achieved a great deal in terms of improving its environmental credentials. We should be proud of this. But we are at a crossroads when it comes to the future of our environmental strategy, made all the more critical and timely by the prospect of a post-Brexit world.”

 “The waste industry is more than capable of rising to these challenges and needs clear policy direction to enable the necessary capital investments to be made. At Biffa, we relish the challenge and look forward to working with industry and Government to create an integrated solution which we can all get behind.”

An advance copy of The Reality Gap 2017 has been shared with officials from Defra and Biffa says it was well received as Government looks to gather input from across industry to develop the UK’s future waste strategy.

 

Notes to Editors:

Biffa is a leading UK-based integrated waste management business. The Group operates across the breadth of the waste management value chain, including the collection, treatment, processing and disposal of waste and recyclable materials, as well as related work in the production and sale of energy derived from waste and the sale of recovered commodities such as paper, glass, metals and plastic. Biffa’s customer base for these services includes local authorities (which includes the collection of waste from households), large corporates and SMEs, and purchasers of end-product commodities and energy. Across its operations, the Group managed approximately 3.3mT of waste in Fiscal Year 2017. The Group’s services are organised across four operating divisions: Industrial & Commercial; Municipal; Resource Recovery & Treatment (RR&T); and Energy. In Fiscal Year 2017, the Group’s total revenue was £990.4 million and its Underlying EBITDA was £137.7 million. Biffa was successfully admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange’s main market for listed securities in October 2016 under the ticker “BIFF”.

For more information visit www.biffa.co.uk

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