PFI waste rules revised

The criteria for waste management projects seeking funds through the private finance initiative were updated in November, with immediate effect.

The rules were last changed in 2000 to require local authorities to show that proposals did not erect any barriers to the development of recycling, and that all opportunities for recycling had been considered. PFI credits were capped at £25 million - discouraging plans for new incinerators.

The new rules make the PFI even more favourable to recycling and composting, which "should be part of" any PFI scheme. Proposals must demonstrate how they match or exceed the statutory household waste recycling targets for the authorities involved, and should contribute to the recycling targets in the Government's waste strategy. They should also make clear how household waste will be minimised, and take account of authorities' obligations to reduce landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste.

References to incineration have been replaced by wider criteria on recovery which apply equally to technologies new to the UK, such as mechanical/biological treatment and anaerobic digestion. The use of "residual waste treatment options including recovery should be considered and their use justified in line with the waste hierarchy and should demonstrate that there is no future barrier to reduction, reuse and recycling."

The cap is raised to £40 million. Higher figures will be considered for "exceptional environmental solutions" or where "further value for money considerations" apply, such as a large volume of waste being dealt with or partnership working between authorities.

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