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Defra plan delay ‘unwelcome’, says CIWM

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has said a delay in Defra’s publication of its 25-year plan is “unwelcome”.

Defra has scrapped plans to release its 25-year plan in 2016 following the EU referendum result.

The department had pledged to publish a ’framework for action’ on the environment in the spring, with the plan itself to be developed by the end of this year.

But it has told MRW that the “nature of the plan” will change since the referendum result to leave the EU, with a 2016 release date no longer confirmed.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We all now have an opportunity to consider our long-term vision for the environment following the referendum vote. We look forward to continuing to work with a wide range of interests to determine that vision and to work together to deliver it.”

According to the CIWM, a letter to stakeholders from the department went further, saying it would not be publishing the framework this summer or the plan this year.

Reacting to the letter, CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said: “It may be unwelcome in light of the current policy vacuum on waste in England, but the delay of Defra’s 25-year plan seems inevitable given the need to articulate a new vision for the UK outside the EU in this and many other policy areas.

“That said, any period of uncertainty has the potential to damage momentum and investment, and the Government must not wait too long to address the task. Waste and resource management must be seen as a cornerstone for future economic growth and business competitiveness.

“More than ever, UK industry will need to strengthen the bottom line through waste reduction and resource efficiency, and our sector needs a clear vision and policy framework from the Government to ensure it can play its part in supporting the UK economy going forward.”

Defra’s initial release dates for the 25-year plan and strategy were included in its departmental strategy until 2020 released earlier this year. The strategy made a commitment to tackle waste crime but it was slammed by many industry figures for not addressing other issues.

At the time, Lee criticised it for making little reference to industry issues including resource efficiency and security, renewable energy, green economic growth and climate change mitigation.

He said: ”This plan won’t deliver – we can only hope that the 25-year environment plan promised later this year by Defra does better.”

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