Defra sets out future direction for energy from waste


The Energy from Waste: A Guide to the Debate document from Defra has been revised to show how the Government believes energy from waste will develop.

A new chapter has been added that sets out the future policy direction based on four principles.


Defra has said that it wants to encourage developers to consider these principles as a key part of the decision making process around future development of new projects and operation of existing plant.

The principles are:

  1. Energy from waste must support the management of waste in line with the waste hierarchy
  2. Energy from waste should seek to reduce or mitigate the environmental impacts of waste management and then seek to maximise the benefits of energy generation
  3. Government support for energy from waste should provide value for money and make a cost effective contribution to UK environmental objectives in the context of overall waste management and energy goals
  4. Government will remain technology neutral except where these is a clear market failure preventing a technology competing on a level playing field.

In the report, Defra wrote: “There are wider societal and environmental benefits associated with energy generation and use that will drive energy policy and impact on energy from waste.

“Energy from waste will be subject to policy developed to address these drivers and therefore so will decisions on how best to maximise the energy use from energy from waste. Examples might include renewable energy targets and how these are used among electricity, heat and transport fuels. Energy from waste in particular has the potential to deliver low carbon energy in a cost effective way and as a non-intermittent source helps provide energy security.

“There is therefore a range of policies which waste management and energy generation companies have to navigate. With the average contract life time of an energy from waste plant being 25 years, potential investors need to be mindful of Government’s vision for the future.”

View the full report here