Distributed or centralised energy-from-waste policy? Implications of technology and scale at municipal level

David Longden*, John Brammer, Lucy Bastin, Nic Cooper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Energy-from-waste (EfW) policies can provide an essential part of landfill diversion and climate change strategies. Many UK waste disposal authorities (WDAs) are currently deciding which energy-from-waste policies are most suitable for their respective municipal areas. Such decisions are challenging since the environmental, economic and social implications of any EfW policy must be fully considered, now that planning guidelines require a full Sustainability Assessment. More specifically, WDAs must identify suitable site locations for facilities, and the optimal scale and number of facilities. This paper reports the results from a study that has developed and appraised EfW policy options using Geographical Information Systems and Multi Criteria Analysis modelling. These methods were used to evaluate and compare the impacts of several EfW strategies in the UK administrative areas of Cornwall and Warwickshire. Different strategies have been defined by the size and number of the EfW facilities, as well as the technology chosen, which includes conventional incineration and advanced thermal treatment. The overall conclusion of this work is that distributed small-scale EfW facilities score most highly overall on the chosen decision criteria and that scale is more important than technology design in determining overall EfW policy impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2622-2634
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


  • Distributed generation
  • Energy-from-waste
  • Multi-criteria analysis


Dive into the research topics of 'Distributed or centralised energy-from-waste policy? Implications of technology and scale at municipal level'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this