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ESA accuses Defra of 'negative' recycling message

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has added its voice to those criticising Defra’s new departmental plan, which makes almost no reference to recycling or waste management.

The ESA says the impression given is a negative message for the sector.

Defra has set out its strategy until 2020 in two documents. One is a more graphical summary of its position which says one aim is to reduce waste and fight crime. The second, said to be a more detailed plan, makes no reference to waste reduction, recycling targets or the current package of proposals on the circular economy from the European Commission.

ESA executive director Jacob Hayler (pictured) was disappointed that the documents contained so few references to the waste and recycling sector.

He said: “As we have pointed out numerous times before, the absence of a proper strategy for our industry is really harming investment and the UK’s ability to achieve higher recycling levels.

“Our industry offers great potential for much-needed investment in UK plc to deliver growth and jobs, but this requires political engagement and long-term vision from the Government.”

Hayler said the ESA would continue to work with Defra, and set out its case for future improvements but “if taken at face value, the departmental plan certainly sends out a negative message about the next five years for our sector”.

The ESA response follows strident criticism from the chief executives of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and the Resource Association.

For the former, Steve Lee said: “The stark picture here is of a department that is utterly depleted in terms of resources, funding and vision.”

For the latter, Ray Georgeson was dismayed at the departmental plan and particularly the absence of any reference to the proposals from Brussels, calling it a “major omission” that “raised questions about the department’s ambition and interest in the waste and resources sector”.

In response to these comments, a Defra spokesperson said: “Waste and resource management remain important priorities for the Government.

”That is why reducing waste is one of the key aims in our departmental strategy that was published last week. Furthermore, we are developing our 25-Year Environment Plan to cover all aspects of the environment, including waste.”


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