London facing waste capacity crisis

In a recent article published by MRW, Cory Riverside chief executive Nicholas Pollard has warned that London is facing a “waste capacity crisis”, after Greater London Authority (GLA) deputy mayor for environment and energy Shirley Rodrigues said a planned expansion of the company’s energy-from-waste (EfW) capacity at Belvedere was not needed.

Cory is looking to build a second incinerator at its Riverside Energy Park, which would take in 655,000 tonnes a year of residual waste, if planning permission is granted.

But speaking to a local paper, Rodrigues said the company’s EfW expansion was “unnecessary”. This reiterates the mayor of London’s environment strategy, released in May last year, which said that “no new EfW capacity will be needed”.

Rodrigues said: “We don’t need another incinerator bringing waste into London to be burnt. There is no use for the heat, so it’s a bit of a redundant facility.”

Responding to her comments, Pollard said: “The situation is stark. London is facing a waste capacity crisis with over two million tonnes of non-recyclable waste being sent to landfill or shipped overseas, and even after the forecast substantial increase in recycling.

” London’s steady growth means that non-recyclable waste volumes are set to rise significantly and will require disposal. Londoners deserve the modern solutions we already see in Scandinavian countries, which have banned landfill altogether. They actively promote recycling rates that far outstrip the UK’s, and the black bin waste that cannot be recycled is turned into green energy and aggregate materials for the construction industry.”

Pollard also countered the claim that EfW has a detrimental effect on recycling rates.

“The London Borough of Bexley, where we currently operate, has one of the highest recycling rates of any London borough,” he said.

Defra has insisted for a number of years that the UK will have enough treatment options to deal with expected residual waste volumes. But the Environmental Services Association has consistently warned of an impending capacity gap.

A report by consultancy Tolvik found London and the south-east are in danger of running out of landfill space by 2025, meaning the regions’ planned capacity for EfW would need to be doubled in order to cope.

Tolvik’s most recent report also found that policies set out in Defra’s resource and waste strategy would still not close the capacity gap.

A final decision on Cory Riverside’s planning application is expected to be made in spring next year.

A spokesperson said:

“Following its assessment of Cory’s proposals, the Planning Inspectorate will make a recommendation to the secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who will make the final decision on whether to grant the project consent.”

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