Plastic recycling grant refused

A PLAN TO build a £3m plant in Wales to recycle waste farm plastic has been shelved after an application for EU Objective 1 funding failed.

The Welsh Assembly, which processes the European grant aid programme, has told Second Life Plastics of Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire that its bid for some of the £19m still available at the start of the year has not been accepted.

The company was sending plastic it collected from farms in Wales and five border counties for recycling in Scotland, and using some of the resulting product to make garden furniture.

This set up ended when the recycler signed a big deal with the Irish Government, which has established a national collection scheme to handle waste farm plastic.

As a result Second Life Plastics has ceased operating, and farmers who had paid to register with the firm, and who were charged weight based collection fees, have been told to make other arrangements.

These include Carmarthenshire producers who were taking advantage of a subsidised County Council scheme for the disposal of farm and domestic plastic, which was operated by the company.

“The news is very worrying,” said Rhian Nowell-Phillips, senior FUW policy adviser.

“Arrangements for plastic waste disposal is one of several issues the EU is planning to take the UK to court over, and we don‘t want to end up with another situation like the fallen stock scheme farrago.

“The last national waste plastic scheme went belly up in the 90s, and any new arrangements are certain to face teething problems.

“This company has years of experience so why doesn‘t the Welsh Assembly Government help them get over this hiccough?”

Farmers who are members of farm assurance agri-environment schemes are already banned from burning or burying waste plastic on their land.

The FUW is very concerned that EU pressure may make a UK wide ban unavoidable in 2005.

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