Memorandum submitted by the Environmental
Services Association (U24)
The Environmental Services Association (ESA)
is the sectoral trade association for the United Kingdom's waste
and secondary resource management industry, a sector contributing
more than £5 billion per annum to GDP.
Indigenous carbon-based energy reserves are
predicted to decline sharply in the future. The Institute of Civil
has suggested that the UK could be importing more than 80% of
its energy by 2020 raising serious concerns about cost and national
In addition to using energy more efficiently,
the UK will need to generate much more renewable energy if the
UK is to meet its targets on greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy
White Paper recognises that against a current total installed
capacity of 1,200 MW, an additional 1,250 MW of renewable energy
capacity will need to be installed in the United Kingdom each
year until 2010 to deliver the 10% renewable energy target.
ESA's Members already make a significant contribution:
of the 3% of electricity generated from renewable sources in the
UK in 2003, 43% was derived from waste:
30.8% was generated from landfill
9.1% was generated from municipal
solid waste incineration
3.2% from sewage sludge digestion.
A further proportion was derived from the incineration
of wood wastes, farm waste digestion, poultry litter combustion
and meat and bone combustion.
According to the Digest of United Kingdom's
Energy Statistics, the renewable energy produced from landfill
gas in 2003-04 was equivalent to over 1 million tonnes of oil.
Nevertheless there is much greater potential
to use waste to generate renewable energy. Defra has estimated
that meeting the biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) targets of
the Landfill Directive will require 13 million tonnes of BMW to
be diverted from landfill by 2020. The European Environment Agency
has suggested that this figure could be as high as 26 million
tonnes. Extracting energy from this waste is part of a balanced
waste management strategy: European countries like the Netherlands
and Denmark have demonstrated that the extraction of high levels
of energy from waste can coexist with high rates of recycling.
The Government has weakened rather than strengthened
the financial incentives to generate energy from waste, even when
recyclable material has been removed. For example, despite reporting
energy from waste as renewable energy to the EU, the Government
does not include energy generated from the biogenic fraction of
mixed waste for support under the Renewables Obligation. This
makes it difficult for companies to satisfy the requirements of
financial institutions for project finance and few companies,
other than large utilities, have the ability to finance new infrastructure
on their balance sheets.
The planning process is a major barrier to increasing
the UK's renewable energy output and we welcome the publication
of new national planning policy on renewable energy developments.
Renewable energy projects need to be supported at national, regional
and local levels.
The PIU's report "Making More with Less"
identified climate change and waste generation as the first and
second environmental priorities for Government. Unlike other EU
Members States, the UK's waste management and energy policies
often appear to be developed in isolation of one another. For
example, whilst there are references to waste in the Energy White
Paper, there is no specific recommendation on how waste and energy
policy can be better integrated.
1 October 2004
53 The State of the Nation 2003, Institute of Civil
Calculated from Table, 7.4 Digest of UK Energy Statistics Dukes
2004. http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/inform/energy_stats/renewables/dukes7_4.xls Back