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Incineration capacity rises as feedstock falls

The fourth issue of Eunomia’s Residual Waste Infrastructure Review is out, and it shows that there has been an increase in incineration capacity at a time when residual waste arisings have been falling. If one combines Eunomia’s central forecast with the 2015 and 2020 trends for English waste arisings set out in the Government’s February 2013 paper Forecasting 2020 waste arisings and treatment capacity then there is an estimation that there will be more residual waste treatment capacity than residual waste arisings by 2015 (see chart, below).

As UKWIN has noted in the past, Eunomia’s approach to calculating residual waste treatment overcapacity is based on assessing the forecast arisings for a given year with the forecast treatment capacity for that year, and calculating whether residual treatment capacity is higher than available waste. However, UKWIN’s view is that if there is more incineration capacity than future available combustible genuinely residual waste then there is clearly incineration overcapacity, and that we have already reached that point.

The Eunomia press release states: “The fourth issue of Eunomia’s Residual Waste Infrastructure Review, published today, shows that the UK now has 21.3m tonnes of residual waste processing capacity that has received planning consent but not yet commenced construction. The findings reinforce the view that it is the difficulty of raising finance, rather than obtaining planning permission, that stands in the way of waste infrastructure being built”.

Residual Capacity Estimates
The red line shows total waste arisings trends based on the Government’s Forecasting 2020 paper. The blue line and circle shows that this figure will match Eunomia’s central forecast of treatment capacity by 2015. Chart adapted from Figure 4 of Eunomia’s report.

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