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Defra continues to invest in waste research

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has launched a new Evidence Investment Strategy and will continue to invest in evidence gathering for waste programmes.

Defras new EIS provides an agenda to prioritise and manage Defras investment in evidence from 2010 to 2013. It highlights the need to focus efforts on climate change and protecting ecosystems.

The strategy will ensure that Defra has access to the best evidence when developing policies including waste.

There are areas of Defras portfolio where it sees its future needs for evidence growing or shrinking but waste is an area which will see continued investment.

Defra currently spends under £5 million on research and development for waste. In contrast, it spends nearly £10m on R&D for exotic diseases and more than £20m on farming for the future [Government farming programme].

The EIS report states that Defra can use evidence investment to foster innovation in a number of ways to deliver sustainability by encouraging technical innovations through co-operation with the Waste & Resources Action Programme and others.

Defra also hope to increase co-operation and communication with its external partners to share its evidence investment, knowledge and expertise through promoting joint programming with delivery partners such as the Environment Agency on waste.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: There has never been a time when there was a greater need for good quality evidence to contribute to policy making and sound decisions, yet this need comes in the midst of a global economic downturn, the speed and ferocity of which has taken us all by surprise.

Defra chief scientific adviser Professor Bob Watson added: It is absolutely essential that all the policies that we formulate are based on sound evidence.

Defra recognises this and invests heavily in evidence, spending approximately £240m to evidence-related activities, including research, surveillance and scientific specialists in 2009 -10.

The EIS will build on the progress made by Defras first evidence strategy Evidence and Innovation 2005-2008 by encouraging better use of evidence for policy making.

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