Disappointed delegates were shown a brief video clip in which Bradshaw expressed support for the industry saying the waste managers role is vital, and apologised for his absence. He had been called away to attend the European Agricultural and Fisheries Council in Brussels.
Representing the minister in his absence was Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs sustainable consumption and production waste director Neil Thornton. He began his speech by saying: I am relieved not to be having to explain why the waste strategy isnt ready yet, to laughter from the audience.
He added: I take to heart two of the messages of this session so far: Jeff [Cooper] said the Waste Strategy will be a topic for discussion and Barbara [Young] said it must not be a paltry effort.
He went on to talk about the Waste Strategy in the context of other recent Government documents, the Planning White Paper and the Energy White Paper.
Thornton said the debate about the Waste Strategy was healthy: There has been debate about whether they[the targets] are ambitious enough. Ben Bradshaw is looking at whether we can be more ambitious.
He also paid tribute to Waste Action & Resources Programme, the Environmental Services Agency, CIWM and the Environment Agency saying: These are the nearest the Government has to, argumentative but knowledgeable, friends.
We are trying to produce a narrative that indicates what the waste business is about and the Governments role in it and how it all fits with the carbon story.