Bioresources market monitoring

This page provides information on our work to monitor and review the bioresources market in England and Wales. Further information about bioresources can be found on the bioresources market page.

As part of the 2019 Price Review, we changed the way we regulate bioresources – a key change was to introduce a separate price control. This separate control covers all bioresources (or sludge) activities: sludge transport, sludge treatment and sludge disposal undertaken by incumbent water and sewerage companies (WASCs). As well as enabling better targeted regulation of bioresources activities, our new approach was aimed at facilitating greater use of markets by WASCs.

Alongside their annual return, WASCs provide information to us on the levels of activity within the market. We have used this information to produce the market monitoring report, which covers developments in the market from 2017, when we started to collect this information, to 2020. We have presented the findings in the form of an interactive report.

To view the below report in full screen so it’s clearer to read, click the little double-ended arrow at the bottom right-hand side of the Power BI window.

Whilst there are number of positive findings, we are concerned that the trading of sludge for treatment is very low and falling and that companies report a number of barriers to competition.

Review of the bioresources market

We are now exploring ways to improve the functioning of the bioresources market. In order to do this, we will be undertaking a review of the market over the next few months, with the findings expected to be published in Spring 2021.

The review will be a more comprehensive look at the market and consider issues such as:

  • the scope for bioresources competition under the current market model – amongst other things, this will help to inform our future monitoring of the market;
  • assess the current barriers to competition and the development of the market;
  • assess different forms of competition / market models; and
  • generate and assess options and the steps needed to achieve these market models and the barriers needed to achieve them.

The review will inform how we regulate in future, including our approach at PR24.