The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has backed a parliamentary report that urged the Government to take a stronger lead on waste policy.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee’s inqury into waste management said the decision by ministers to “step back” from policy work in the sector had damaged efforts to boost poor recycling rates.
The panel of MPs agreed with a number of issues the CPI had brought up when giving evidence to the inquiry.
These included calling for better coordination and consistency between all Government departments involved with waste policy, better support to councils over recyclate contamination and the need for data analysis on waste flows to inform energy-from-waste schemes.
Stuart Pohler, CPI’s recovered paper sector manager, left, said: “It is both gratifying and encouraging to know that many of our own concerns have been recognised in the committee’s findings.
“CPI is of the firm view that issues such as plateauing national recycling performance, ongoing material quality problems and lack of central coordination around future waste infrastructure requirements, are all clear indicators of the need for greaterstrategic focus and leadership towards resource policy; not less.
“We hope that Defra will heed the evidence and re-engage with the resource sector at its earliest opportunity.”
The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) also responded to the Efra report.
Chief executive Steve Lee (left) said: “This is a very useful report and we are pleased to see that it reiterates and supports the calls made repeatedly by our sector over the last two years for more leadership, inter-departmental co-ordination, and policy clarity from Defra.
“It also reinforces growing concern that the 50% recycling target for 2020 will not be met in England without new policy measures and drivers, and helpfully raises issues that must be looked at more closely by Defra, including the reinstating of statutory recycling targets, improved best practice sharing, and the need for national level communications.
“However, the report is still focused on the ‘here and now’ situation; it stops short of articulating the step change in policy approach that will be needed from Defra and other government departments in the future, not least in light of the higher recycling and landfill diversion targets currently on the European Commission’s agenda.
“We need a proper strategy for waste and resources, a clear policy framework to deliver greater waste prevention, improved recycling and better infrastructure provision for both municipal and commercial waste, and a roadmap that fully exploits the synergies between our sector and the wider energy, resource security and sustainable economic growth agendas.
“For this report to have its fullest impact, we would like to see the select committee using this opportunity, and future inquiries, to drive home the potential future impact and cost of Defra’s ‘back seat’ stance on waste.”