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Viridor’s investment of more than £1.2 billion in the development of a network of UK advanced energy recovery facilities has been welcomed by Resources Minister Thérèse Coffey, who said this formed part of a strategy which would help the UK to become a world leader in resource efficiency.
Dr Coffey was addressing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Renewable and Sustainable Energy (PRASEG) last week (Tuesday, 16 January) when she noted that Viridor’s investment was reducing “the country’s reliance on landfill or exporting waste for treatment”.
She added: “It is our aim that this strategy will lay down the foundations for the UK to become a world leader in resource efficiency.
“We do need to shift our economy away from one that’s linear to one that’s making and disposing to one where we keep our resources in circulation for longer.
“We want to support plastic innovation – there is money in the R&D budget and we need to make sure some of that goes specifically towards plastics.”
Viridor’s Managing Director Phil Piddington told the meeting, attended by around 100 guests including MPs, peers, media, charities, and business representatives, that the UK needed a post-Brexit policy framework which created a balance between re-use, recycling, and energy recovery.
Mr Piddington added the UK could lead the EU and the world if it achieved this balanced framework.
Speaking at an earlier roundtable event, he pointed out that the significant challenges recycling faced included sharply rising quality standards required by global markets for output. This was against the backdrop of declining quality of input from households, which was increasingly contaminated, leaving some local authorities failing to meet contractual quality commitments.
Mr Piddington said the UK Government had a huge part to play in making recycling attractive to investors again and rationalising the growing number of different collection systems operated by local authorities across the UK.