The Government needs to fund a programme of data gathering in order to set waste prevention targets, according to LARAC principal policy advisor Andrew Craig.
Speaking to MRW, Craig said the Government also needed to produce regular surveys of waste streams so that they could measure waste prevention.
His comments follow the recommendations made by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report on the Governments Waste Strategy 2007 (see MRW story). MPs called for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to set a comprehensive strategy on waste prevention with a clear set of timetables and targets. The report also said that Defras Waste Strategy Stakeholder Group should give priority in its work programme to the provision of waste prevention advice to ensure that Defra gives prevention sufficient attention in its waste policies.
Craig said: Once you have got the data then you can set the targets. The Government needs to consult with stakeholders because waste prevention is important.
He said that the Government had reneged on its promises to provide landfill tax revenues to fund waste prevention projects and has started to cut support to these projects.
Craig added that waste prevention would be one key focus of LARAC policy over this year.
Commenting about other recommendations from the EFRA report, Craig said that he welcomed the announcement that Defra will consult in 2010 on banning certain substances from landfill. But he said that there would be cost implications for local authorities with the need to invest in infrastructure.
Speaking in a personal capacity, Craig said in two or three years time there may not be enough biowaste to go around because of too much capacity to treat the waste.
In the financial year 2008/2009 Defras Waste & Resources Evidence Programme spent £ 2,139,255 on evidence on wastes for waste policy development.