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Election drive blights waste sector

As we head towards the General Election in 2015, we know it will mean more policy announcements with the short-term goal of pleasing voters.

What it won’t mean is attention to the waste sector because it does not usually keep spin doctors awake at night.

To some extent, we have seen that in recent weeks with the shift of emphasis by Defra to rein back policy work in the waste sector. It was also suggested that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) might take up the slack on construction and demolition. But, at the same time, BIS is “moving back from proactive policy-making because businesses were increasingly recognising the economic case for action.”

The National Infrastructure Plan this week drew a clear distinction between waste and other key schemes such a transport: “In sectors such as … waste, the decision to go ahead with individual projects will be determined by the market.”

Environmental Services Association chairman David Palmer-Jones said at its annual lunch: “Without the active involvement of government, the market signals are simply not strong or visible enough for the average company or householder to spontaneously change the way they regard waste.”

But more encouraging was the announcement of changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive after lobbying by renewable energy groups. It was a recognition from the policy-makers that they can make a difference and industry does need a helping hand.

We all know it makes sense for industry to pay more attention to its resources.

It also makes sense for that message to be shouted from every roof-top, including the Palace of Westminster.

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