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Clamour grows for Office for Resource Management

The call for a cross-departmental Office for Resource Management (ORM), headed by a Government minister, has gained further support from the Society for the Environment (SocEnv).

The society, a chartered institution which supports environmental professionals, has published a report urging a more holistic approach with long-term strategies to tackle environmental challenges.

The publication, which references policy ideas from 12 professional bodies including the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), was launched at Westminster on 16 March.

SocEnv president Tony Juniper said: “Achieving a healthy environment is far from marginal to Britain’s interests. Looking after where we live, both globally and locally, is vital for our long-term health, wealth and security and must be a far more prominent agenda as we approach the election.”

On 12 March, the Material Security Working Group which is headed by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, also demanded the incoming Government set up an ORM to co-ordinate resource-efficient policies and practices across Whitehall.

On 2 March, the Circular Economy Task Force called for a National Resources Council to protect resource supply and co-ordinate “disjointed” Government waste policy.

Major points which every SocEnv member signed up to included: 

  • Establish an ORM, headed by a minister, to lead and co-ordinate Government policy on resource efficiency and waste prevention across departments
  • Expand the market for reused and recycled products and materials by reforming Government procurement rules, putting appropriate economic incentives in place and placing a sustained emphasis on public communication and engagement
  • Stimulate private investment in new waste treatment, recycling and reprocessing facilities by setting long-term policy goals and targets – along the lines recently proposed by the EU – working with industry and stakeholders to develop methods to achieve them
  • Protect local communities, safeguard the environment and reduce tax evasion by ensuring that enforcement bodies and local authorities are properly resourced to combat waste crime
  • Work with the European Commission to place more policy emphasis on setting targets for activities of at the top of the waste hierarchy, such as reuse, refurbishment and remanufacture
  • Work towards improving consumer and producer awareness of remanufacturing, including through the use of national campaigns as well as supporting platforms where best practices case studies can be shared

The CIWM offered two policy wishes unilaterally:

  • Work towards procuring UK remanufactured products such as office furnishing and equipment, carpet, electrical equipment, white goods and medical appliances where possible
  • Adopt the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group’s definition of remanufacturing to provide clarity as to what constitutes remanufacturing versus other aspects of the circular economy

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