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cover art for Indaver's John Ahern on EfW planning struggles, nearly 30 years in waste, and why he'd do it all over again

The Burning Issue

Indaver's John Ahern on EfW planning struggles, nearly 30 years in waste, and why he'd do it all over again

Season 2, Ep. 3

Every fortnight the Burning Issue looks at different elements of the energy recovery sector, taking the starting point that while energy recovery has moved some waste out of landfill, where does the sector go from here?


In this third episode of series two, the Burning Issue speaks to John Ahern of Indaver with a focus on the company’s work in Ireland and its relatively recent expansion into the UK. 


The episode focuses on:


  • The Rivenhall EfW’s ongoing planning work
  • Getting the company’s first UK-based facility operational 
  • Plans for carbon capture 
  • Biogas-production remains on the cards if food-waste policies back it 
  • And why the UK is one of the “good place” to operate in term of planning policies 

More episodes

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  • 4. Sikla’s Harry Starke on piping, when EfW builds go right, and when they go wrong

    30:39
    EWB editor Luke Walsh talks to Sikla’s head of sales for the UK, Ireland, Oceania and North America, Harry Starke. This episode focuses on:If Germany and France have 100+ EfWs each why shouldn’t the UK?What is was like working on the the troubled “three + one” EfW and biomass projects Why developers need to take steel measurements seriously Dealing with EPC and other contractors on an EfW build Pipework “is what you see all around” EfW plants.
  • 3. CIWM’s Dan Cooke on Viridor’s transformation, future emissions trading, and developing the next generation

    23:13
    EWB editor Luke Walsh talks to the current president of Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and former group head of sustainability at Viridor Dan Cooke.This episode focuses on:The UK is developing “world-class regulation”Emissions trading scheme and the impact it will haveHow Viridor moved from landfill to EfW and what happened in betweenThere are still capacity gaps for merchant plants to come inHow data and AI will support the waste sector Alongside his CIWM role Cooke is currently head of protected and historic landscapes at Cornwall Council.Cooke’s career in the waste and resources sector spans three decades and takes in roles in local government, environmental charity and the private sector. He served 21 years with Viridor, holding roles including group head of sustainability, director of regulatory affairs and director of external affairs.He is an environmental (ESG), communications and landscapes professional with over 35 years’ experience in the recycling/waste management, water and landscapes sectors (working across private companies, public authorities and charities). Cooke has also held previous roles with Tidy Britain Group/Environmental Campaigns, and Coventry City Council. Previously he served as chair of the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB); director of Viridor Credits Environmental Ltd (an independent charity distributing grants of £5-8M/yr via the Landfill Communities Fund); and trustee of the Carymoor Environmental Trust.
  • 2. NAWDO’s Jarno Stet on electrifying waste trucks, social media and ‘cheap’ criticism of local authorities

    27:46
    EWB editor Luke Walsh talks to the outspoken National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO) secretary and City of Westminster’s waste and recycling manager Jarno StetThis episode focuses on:Social media and does it still have a place for professionalsHow Westminister developed a waste collection fleet powered on the waste it collectsWill producing hydrogen from waste be the next big thingCriticism of local authority waste contracting processes are “cheap”Is the UK reaching EfW capacity and should Europe work together more to share capacity.Stet, who is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, specialises in local authority waste management. As the current secretary of the NAWDO, Stet works to support the interests of local authorities when it comes to waste processing. Stet is also waste and recycling manager for local authority Westminster City Council, overseeing waste management for about 250,000 residents, 34,000 businesses and about one million daily commuters and tourists.
  • 1. Geminor’s Oliver Caunce on whether UK waste exports rising was a blip, the future of SRF, and succeeding in a challenging market

    24:15
    For the first episode of series three, the Burning Issue podcast returns to the waste exports market to discover if 2023’s increase in tonnages would continue EWB editor Luke Walsh talks to Geminor country manager UK Oliver Caunce about being the largest exporter of waste from the UK, how the company got to that position, and how it hopes to stay there as its rivals evolve. This episode also focuses on:2023’s rise in UK waste exportscosts have increased for SRF production, driving a swing to RDFhow to cope with new taxes focused on the biogenic content of baled wastewill waste management rise up the political agenda?Geminor’s involvement in the development of chemical processes for hard-to-recycle plasticsNorway-headquartered Geminor has facilities and offices in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the UK, Germany, Poland, France and Italy, and employs around 100 professionals and experts in total.The company’s subsidiaries mainly deal with the treatment and handling of refuse-derived fuel and solid-recovered fuel production, as well as processing waste wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, hazardous waste and other streams. 
  • 9. Trowers & Hamlins LLP's Christopher Philpot on On legal action around waste-gasification plants, how to avoid EfW pitfalls, and why you should “love your contracts”

    18:14
    The Burning Issue looks at different elements of the energy recovery sector, taking the starting point that while energy recovery has moved some waste out of landfill, where does the sector go from here? In the final episode of series two, the Burning Issue speaks to Christopher Philpot, senior associate at Trowers & Hamlins LLP.Philpot shines a light on the legal action that has followed several high-profile failures involving gasification-equipped energy-from-waste plants mainly designed to process refuse-derived fuel.  This episode focuses on: Why a higher percentage of EfW deals have ended up in court when compared with similar industries  Challenges waste-gasification plants have faced in getting through commissioning and then meeting contractual outputs.Major problems with the systems designed to move fuel through plants into the gasifier How to avoid the pitfalls other in the sector have fallen into And why you should “love your contracts”   
  • 8. Local Partnership’s Hattie Parke on the looming end of PFI deals, what happens next, and a little bit about RDF

    21:45
    Every fortnight the Burning Issue looks at different elements of the energy recovery sector, taking the starting point that while energy recovery has moved some waste out of landfill, where does the sector go from here?In this eighth episode of series two, the Burning Issue speaks to Hattie Parke as she takes on a new role as director of climate at the government-owned public-private partnership unit known as Local Partnerships. Parke has experienced the EfW sector before at consultancy Eunomia, which is the secretariat of the RDF Industry Group and is still active in it now. The episode focuses on:Opportunities and problems for the EfW sector as long term PFI deals endWhy 25 year contracts are “probably” a thing of the pastWhat local authorities need to do now to get the best value for taxpayersStaying on top of a changing policy environment 
  • 7. Marr Contracting's Simon Marr on EfW building, cutting construction emissions and winning new deals in the UK

    18:19
    Every fortnight the Burning Issue looks at different elements of the energy recovery sector, taking the starting point that while energy recovery has moved some waste out of landfill, where does the sector go from here?In this seventh episode of series two, the Burning Issue speaks to Marr Contracting managing director Simon Marr , chair of the RDF Industry Group and managing director of Totus Environmental. The episode focuses on:In the UK Marr is bidding on “a lot of work… getting involved in early planning of some major projects”More lawyers are involved in EfW contracts, “which is never helpful”Using renewable diesel-powered cranes to lower carbon emissions of builds Is the UK a  graveyard for EPC contractors?
  • 6. RDFIG & Totus Environmental's Andy Jones on the UK importing waste and TFS issues

    22:39
    Every fortnight the Burning Issue looks at different elements of the energy recovery sector, taking the starting point that while energy recovery has moved some waste out of landfill, where does the sector go from here?In this sixth episode of series two, the Burning Issue speaks to Andy Jones, chair of the RDF Industry Group and managing director of Totus Environmental. The episode focuses on:Why there is no reason to ban the legitimate export of wasteWaste exporters “sympathetic” to the EA’s current plight, but improvements to the TFS process are needed “quickly”Could the UK start to import waste?Is the UK already over capacity in terms of EfW plants?
  • 5. Viridor's Tim Rotheray on ESG, acquisitions, carbon capture and banning nitrous oxide

    22:34
    Every fortnight the Burning Issue looks at different elements of the energy recovery sector, taking the starting point that while energy recovery has moved some waste out of landfill, where does the sector go from here?In this fifth episode of series two, the Burning Issue speaks to Tim Rotheray, director of ESG and external affairs at Viridor. The episode focuses on:Forecasting a ban on nitrous oxide and Runcorn’s CCS bid getting backingWhat else the company could be interested in buying after several EfW projects and Norway-based Quantafuel Why the Beddington EfW needs to expand as “there's not enough capacity to treat the residual waste generated in the area”How interest around in the circular economy, waste, and recycling is “really growing in a very positive way”Potential impact of the UK’s Electricity Generator Levy (EGL) on ViridorRamping up Viridor’s first plastic-recycling facility in Avonmouth