Defra has published details of the long-awaited waste management plan for England.
The document, which is required under EU law, does not introduce any new measures but brings together existing waste management policies under a single umbrella.
Defra is consulting on whether the plan, along with local authority local waste management plans, will meet EU requirements set out in Article 28 of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD).
The Article requires EU member states to undertake an analysis of their waste management situation and measures on waste re-use, recycling, recovery and disposal.
Defra said the draft plan “reflects the conclusions of the government review of waste policy in 2011 and developments since the review was published”.
It also claimed the plan would not place any additional burdens on businesses, consumers or local authorities.
The plan was expected to be published last year, but was delayed as Defra claimed EU rules meant ministers had to first carry out a strategic environmental impact assessment.
But this move was criticised by both the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and the Environmental Services Association over concerns waste planning approvals could be delayed.
The plan is now accompanied by an environmental impact assessment.
Haroona Chughtai, Defra’s policy lead for waste infrastructure, said: “The plan and the updated waste planning policy will be used by planning authorities who must have regard to these documents when deciding waste planning applications under the Town and Country Planning Act 2004.
“Local waste authorities must also have regard to the plan when producing local waste plans that establish how they will manage waste within their areas.”
Matthew Farrow, director of policy at ESA, said: “Defra had made clear that the plan was intended to ensure compliance with the WFD rather than to break new policy ground.
“There is, however, a separate debate about whether Defra should be more ambitious in terms of exceeding the WFD targets and identifying where it can do more to enable business to build a circular economy.”