ESA respond to Aaron Bell MP
Landfill remains an essential piece of Britain’s waste management infrastructure for the foreseeable future as a means of disposing of waste for which no other safe treatment option is available.
Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Jacob Hayler said: “Over the past decade or so the resources and waste management sector, led by ESA members, has invested billions of pounds in new alternatives to landfill, and this has seen the number of active landfill sites drop significantly over this period. However, they still remain an essential piece of Britain’s waste management infrastructure for the foreseeable future as a means of disposing of waste for which no other safe treatment option is available.
Landfill sites are permitted and regulated by the Environment Agency and must operate within the objective terms set out under their permits. The Environment Agency has the power to take enforcement action against operators who do not meet their permit conditions, which includes terms around odour, dust and pests. Odour is therefore a key consideration and operators do all they can to mitigate this potential problem, which is most often caused by the presence of biodegradable material in the waste stream. To compound the issue, many landfill sites – most of which are now decades old - were originally established well away from communities, but population growth and housing development has seen the gradual encroachment of new communities on existing landfill sites and operators have had to manage the additional challenges posed by this.
Working with government, local authorities and the wider public, the resources and waste management industry has made great strides in diverting biodegradable material, such as food waste, from landfill and into alternative treatment such as composting and anaerobic digestion. This looks set to accelerate more over the next ten years with mandatory separate food waste collections and greater recycling, and the number of active landfill sites will continue to decline as we move more and more material up the waste hierarchy.”