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Defra exceeds waste reduction target

Defra has exceeded its target to reduce its own waste, according to the latest annual report, and it has pledged to retain “long-term goals” following the EU referendum.

The department has reduced its office and non-office waste by more than 35% since 2009-10, easily surpassing its 25% for March 2016.

The waste data was measured by the department’s waste contractors. Wherever possible, actual weights were used but where this was not possible data was calculated using a metric based on the number of bins emptied.

Internal audits were undertaken to validate and improve the accuracy of this data for common waste streams, using a number of sites to establish the average weights and waste ratios.

Defra admitted this methodology would result in a small margin of error but said it was not currently cost effective to weigh all waste streams.

The department also recorded a paper reduction of 39%, greenhouse gas reduction of 28.2%, water reduction of 26.5%, and domestic flights reduction of 24%. All of these exceeded targets.

In the foreword to the report, permanent secretary Clare Moriarty (pictured) says the decision to leave the EU would have “profound implications” for the department.

“Our long-term goals will remain but the means through which we deliver them will change as we create domestic policies in areas that have been heavily shaped by the EU, and develop new trading relationships.

“There will undoubtedly be challenges along the way but in the short time since the referendum I have been impressed by the professionalism that people around the Defra group have brought to the task. I have every confidence that we will continue to deliver successfully in a new context.”

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