Additional InformationUnderpinned by the large number of EU waste directives, and in particular the Landfill Directive, the UK controlled waste management market has shown significant growth since the turn of the Millennium. Annual Business Inquiry data shows that between 2003 and 2006, the market for waste collection, treatment and disposal services for waste other than sewage increased from £4.3bn to over £6.1bn. We estimate that the market has increased by a similar rate to around £6.8bn in 2007 and will continue to grow, albeit at a reduced annual rate. However, the market growth rates of recent years may slow down over the next few years, underpinned mainly by the impact of the global “credit crunch” and escalating oil and energy prices on both central and local government funding and also on investment by the waste management industry and private equity investors.
There is also a possibility that the planned rate of infrastructure development may be hampered by delays arising from drawn out planning processes, as has been the case with a large number of incineration and commercial composting facilities. Among the main reasons for delays in many schemes coming on-stream has been vigorous opposition from local groups.
Historically, around 90% of municipal/household waste has been landfilled, but in recent years the proportion of waste being landfilled has been decreasing while recovery and recycling rates have accelerated over the last 3 -4 years. To achieve this, increasing levels of investment have been required to fund recycling collections - in particular kerbside collection systems - and also the construction of facilities required to sort and treat dry and biodegradable municipal waste fractions.
Largely driven by the requirement of the Landfill Directive to divert municipal biodegradable waste from landfill, DEFRA and the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) have implemented various programmes aimed at developing new technologies for treating biodegradable waste and at expanding the infrastructure for sorting ‘dry’ recyclables. This has contributed towards the expansion in the number of material recycling facilities (MRFs) and commercial composting sites. Over the next 15 years, the UK’s waste management infrastructure is scheduled to expand significantly. Key to this has been the implementation of the Waste Infrastructure Development Programme (WIDP) which is channelling at least £10bn of public funding into the expansion of MRF capacity and also advanced waste treatment facilities in particular: mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plants, in-vessel composting (IVC) units, anaerobic digesters (AD) and energy recovery facilities including; energy from waste (EfW) incinerators, gasification and pyrolysis plants.
A key route for procuring these facilities is PFI/PPP, whereby consortia enter into long-term partnerships with local authorities, particularly on high-cost multi-facility developments, often referred to as Resource Recovery Parks (RRPs). there has been a considerable level of mergers and acquisition activity in recent years, particularly with the larger groups seeking to enhance their recycling capacity and broaden their networks of facilities. Key targets have typically included recyclers/pre-processors specialising in paper or metals, local authority waste disposal companies (LAWDCs) and regional private contractors. Many LAWDCs have been acquired as part of long-term PFI/PPP contracts between waste disposal authorities (WDAs) and private waste management companies. Veolia Environmental Services (ES), SITA UK, Viridor and Waste Recycling Group can all attribute substantial growth in recent years to acquisitions.
It has been through acquisition that leading European waste management groups have been able to so successfully penetrate and come to dominate the UK waste management industry. The presence of foreign owned contractors has been enhanced with the rapid emergence of Greenstar UK, part of the Irish NTR Group. Within just five years, Greenstar UK has grown through a series of acquisitions to become the 7th largest player within the UK market and the largest recycling led contractor.
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