LARAC calls for an overhaul of the way that waste and resource management is currently funded in the UK. There is a potential conflict between the current lack of investment and fines if the 50% recycling target is not met, as now appears possible. LARAC favours targeted funding which flows between all agencies over ring-fencing as the latter does not take account of producer responsibility. Income streams from direct charging schemes and increased landfill tax revenues should be included in ring fenced funding streams.
Funding mechanisms should be robust and reliable. Local authorities should not be placed in a position whereby funding is withdrawn after significant investment has already taken place, for example PFI credit withdrawal.
With regards to PFI, LARAC would prefer not to see these reinstated, and instead would favour direct investment by government. There is strong potential for growth in the sector, especially in the areas of recovery and preparation for reuse. Such investment would secure long term capacity and fixed costs for local authorities, whilst also providing some of the support required to meet national targets.
LARAC would like to see greater resourcing and development of partnerships to be encouraged, involving building merchant plants that are shared with local authorities. LARAC suggests that the ROC band for ‘Energy from Waste with CHP should be clarified as several technologies in other bands also generate energy from waste with CHP. LARAC strongly supports CHP installations and welcomes measures to identify and develop heat markets.
Providing local authorities with the resources to manage a number of contracts with smaller firms (local SMEs, community enterprises) would assist in encouraging investment to be directed towards appropriate treatment facilities, not necessarily large service providers. This could better encourage innovation by a wider range of companies as well as being part of the wider localism agenda.