Developing Business Waste Infrastructure in London and the South East

EPOW study of Business Waste Infrastructure in London and the South East 

For the last two years the Environment Agency, first in partnership with South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and then the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), has been working on their ambitious European Pathway to Zero Waste (EPOW) programme. The programme is supported by the European Commission’s LIFE+ funding stream, helping to demonstrate the route to zero landfilling of all waste streams in the South East of England.

The EPOW programme’s current priority is to explore how the development of waste infrastructure can be de-risked and supported through enhanced partnership working.

In addressing this priority, Ricardo Energy & Environment was commissioned to explore barriers to the delivery of business waste and resource processing infrastructure in London and the South East (L&SE) and to identify ways of overcoming these. For this study, business waste includes commercial and industrial waste and construction and demolition waste.

The need for more business waste infrastructure in London and the South East 

It is estimated that in 2009 businesses within the L&SE regions sent 2.3 Million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of Commercial and Industrial (C&I) waste to landfill. Assuming similar levels of waste arisings in 2012, to achieve the ambitions of the EPOW programme Ricardo Energy & Environment estimates around 2 Mtpa of additional recycling, composting and recovery infrastructure will be required in the L&SE regions for C&I waste alone.

Some of this tonnage will be addressed by new facilities currently in construction and commissioning, which Ricardo Energy & Environment estimates will provide around 0.4 Mtpa of C&I waste capacity. However, diverting the remaining C&I waste, along with Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste currently going to landfill, will require new facilities to be designed, procured and delivered.

There is currently about 1 Mtpa of infrastructure in the pipeline subject to planning and financing. The actual breakdown of recycling versus residual treatment infrastructure required will depend on the trend in business waste recycling rates and local decisions by developers and facility operators.

The need for new business waste infrastructure is clear.

Stakeholder contribution

Fundamental to the business waste study undertaken by Ricardo Energy & Environment, the Environment Agency and WRAP is to understand the viewpoints and experiences of those that have successfully delivered infrastructure, are trying to develop infrastructure, are involved in the decision making process or are affected by the current landscape of business waste management.

Between 1st May and 19th July 2012 Ricardo Energy & Environment (with support from Dialogue by Design) delivered 16 workshops across the London and the South East region, where key stakeholders gathered to reflect on the work to date and influence the final report which will be delivered to key decision makers.


A pre-workshop summary published in March 2012, based on literature review and initial stakeholder discussions, can be viewed here.


The workshops brought together stakeholders with a mix of perspectives and experience. Fifteen of the workshops, were hosted at major waste processing infrastructure in the region offering an excellent opportunity to explore facilities such as EfW, AD, WEEE, materials reprocessors, waste transfer and MRFs at first hand. Over 300 people involved in the development and delivery of business waste infrastructure attended the workshops, including planners, representatives of the investment community, waste management contractors, local authority officers, policy makers (government and sub-regional) and representatives of waste producers.


Presentations from the workshops are available here.


Next steps – get the report

Following the completion of the workshops we are now reviewing and analysing all of the feedback collected and additional data provided by stakeholders. A report is being developed that will be available following peer review at the end of January.

We presented our preliminary findings at the RWM Resource efficiency and Waste Management solutions Conference at the Birmingham NEC on Tuesday 11th September.


The presentation is available here.


The report will prove a summary of all the barriers and solutions raised by delegates during the workshops and highlight the opportunities available to de-risk and support infrastructure delivery.

If you would like a copy of the report please contact us at: