The Sustainable Resource Forum, a Policy Connect body joining government officials and waste management experts, has launched a call for evidence for the inquiry.
It hopes to hear from waste industry specialists, academics, parliamentarians, NGOs, the heat and energy sector, and local authorities and the civil service on a series of questions about how EfW is currently used and perceived, how it could be used and optimised in the future, and what new infrastructure needs to be built.
The inquiry will particularly consider the opportunities of and barriers to utilising heat on a wider scale, and the social benefits this can provide to local communities, including addressing fuel poverty, providing low-carbon energy, housing opportunities, and attracting jobs and investment.
The forum is accepting written evidence up to 14 February 2020. It will publish a report to be launched in parliament around April 2020.
The research and report compilation will be overseen by Professor Margaret Bates of the University of Northampton.
The inquiry follows on from Policy Connect’s Plastic Packaging Plan report, released earlier this year, which recommended the UK reduce its plastic waste exports to zero.
Oliver Feaver, research and project coordinator at Policy Connect, said: “If we are to deal with the UK’s residual waste, alongside increased recycling targets and reduced landfill/waste exports, we need to consider the role that EfW can contribute, and how this might fit into the wider ambitions for a circular economy.
“We are hoping this consultation will bring clarity to what the future should look like for residual waste management and help understand what practical steps are required to realise additional benefits of EfW, such as district heating.”