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Costain Director Speaks At Top Industry Show

15 August 2012

The UK’s waste sector faces enormous challenges to meet future demand, from developing new waste infrastructure to diverting waste from landfill in order to capitalise on its value, both in material and energy terms.

These challenges and many more will be discussed at the Resource Efficiency & Waste Management Solutions Show at the NEC, in Birmingham, on September 11-13.

Organised in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, the show will focus on the future of waste management and the risks inherent in delivering waste infrastructure.

Speaking at the event will be Martin Hopkins, Costain’s Waste Sector Director. Martin will be speaking in the Leaders’ Theatre on Thursday 13th September on a subject called “Collaboration for cost savings and innovation – how can the industry work more closely together and what are the major opportunities?”

The social and economic needs for new waste infrastructure are certainly compelling. The Institution of Civil Engineers estimates that the UK needs over 2,000 new waste treatment facilities by 2020 in order to transform the country from simply 'digging and dumping' into a fully-fledged energy and resource recovery industry.

The challenges facing the industry are multi-faceted. The technology has become more complex and more dominated by power and process engineering. Landfill tax, legislation, and the wider environment agenda are driving greater segregation of waste and more material recovery, and commercial and industrial sector clients - retail, manufacturing, construction - are looking for solutions that benefit the bottom line.

Moreover, the EU Landfill Directive means that the UK can no longer rely on its historical solution of sending waste to landfill. The UK needs to develop infrastructure so that, by 2020, it send only 35% of the volume of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) to landfill that it sent in 1995. If the UK fails to meet this target it could face fines from the European Court of Justice of up to £0.5 million per day.

Elsewhere, the basic feedstock for the new infrastructure is also changing. Products and packaging are smarter and more resource efficient, a wider range of materials is being recovered from our waste, and as these trends continue, the volume and composition of waste in the future becomes harder to predict.

But the cost of developing this new waste infrastructure needs to be funded. It is estimated that over £10billion of investment is required by 2020 through a combination of major public and private sector investment. However, the way major projects are now financed has also changed.

“There is no doubt the funding landscape is more challenging than ever before, with investment channels now more risk averse as a result of general economic environment. In the past, PFI might have smoothed the way for some municipal waste infrastructure, although even this funding model has had its difficulties. Now, though, local authorities are required to explore other options and any success in terms of merchant capacity is likely to be even harder won. That is why we need to find ways, as an industry, to collaborate more effectively and be more innovative in how we deliver cost saving solutions for our customers,” said Martin.

Costain is exhibiting at stand 20E58 – F59. For more information or to register, visit www.rwmexhibition.com and quote priority code ‘MTE1’ for your free ticket.