E&Y calls for waste management forum

The firm has said that the government should set up a regulatory forum and central knowledge resource to help local authorities run long-term waste-management contracts.

‘Without this,’ the firm warned, ‘targets might be achievable but with higher cost implications for the council taxpayer.’ E&Y reached this conclusion following a survey of 250 local councils.

The firm concluded that local councils would struggle to meet the Pounds 6bn to Pounds 7bn needed to be invested in its waste management infrastructure in the next decade to meet the European Union’s landfill directive.

Local councils require 100 new incinerators, 200 material recycling facilities and the capacity to compost 10 million tonnes of waste by 2015 to meet the requirements. The directive requires a massive reduction in the amount of waste being landfilled from 90% to just 30% and the use of recycling and technological solutions in its place.

At present private finance initiatives will fund capital projects by the amounts of Pounds 50m, Pounds 75m and Pounds 100m over the next three years, and the firm concluded that council taxpayers would have plug the shortfall in funding unless steps recommended are implemented.

At the root of the problem the survey revealed that only one-in-ten local authorities have finalised plans to deliver an integrated waste management structure, with 14% having done nothing at all so far and the rest at various draft stages.

Each council is expected to introduce its own integrated waste management plan, but they are being impeded by concern over the use of incinerators, while contractors are reluctant to enter into agreements without firm strategies in place.

Only a handful of long-term contracts have so far been awarded, despite most respondents saying they are in favour of them.

Rob Winchester, a director in E&Y’s Project Finance Group said the shortfall was exacerbated by the ‘complications overshadowing the provision of optimal contracts with few service providers via an expensive procurement process’.

He added: ‘Implementation of the directive is inevitably being slowed as local authorities waver over how, where and when to place their bets.’


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