January 21st, 2013

DCLG’s hand in Envirolink’s insolvency

Energy House

by Peter Jones OBE

 

Since I “retired” from Biffa over 4 years ago, I haven’t been short of things to do. One of my jobs has been as chairman of the Warrington-based not for profit organisation Envirolink Northwest, providing business support to the low carbon and environmental goods and services sector. As a group, the non-executive directors and I gave hundreds of hours of pro bono time to support the work of a dedicated team of staff. But in December we had to take the hard decision to liquidate the company. In a personal capacity, I’d like to explain why I feel that, despite the impact of projects ending, funding being withdrawn and the difficulty of winning new work in a difficult economy, the key problem was the hurdles that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) put in the way of Envirolink receiving funding it was due – with repercussions across green industry in the North West.

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September 13th, 2012

The decline and fall of the Rolonoffs

Rolonoff

by Peter Jones OBE

 

The shift in perceptions that transforms “waste” into resources is accelerating, driven by the great rise in the value of stuff previously considered worthless. This revolution of thought will be accompanied and enabled by many smaller changes, some of which are already beginning to take shape. Some will be subtle alterations of mindset, but others will be very visible – including, I think, a transformation in the processes and equipment involved in waste collection. Soon we will start to see what the real resource economy of the future is going to look like, and what sort of waste industry it will need.

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July 13th, 2012

Water, waste and the space race

The impact of water

by Peter Jones OBE

 

For all its many environmental benefits, the growth in recycling poses a problem: space. At its peak, landfilling required 500 major burial pits, occupying around 8,000 hectares. If we landfilled no waste at all, it is estimated that up to 3,000 waste facilities of 5-10 hectares would be required, occupying around 25,000 hectares – three times the area. The twin challenges of navigating the planning system and attracting investment make developing this infrastructure one of the waste sector’s biggest problems. Although approaching 50 food waste anaerobic digestion and 200 materials recovery plants are already in place, more are needed.

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March 13th, 2012

ROC bands – just keep it simple

by Peter Jones OBE

 

In my experience, a uniting feature of governments of all political complexions is their capacity to base policy on fundamentally flawed assumptions, miss the overarching issues, and eschew sound science and rational economic models. DECC’s proposals on Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) Banding were a case in point, and the consultation, the results of which are due out this Spring, frustratingly allowed no scope to question the intellectual strength of the total package.

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