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Government rejects calls to protect waste reduction funding

Recommendations to ring-fence funding for waste reduction and restructure local authority weight-based targets have been rejected by the Government.

This was the Governments response to recommendations made in the House of Lords Waste Reduction report, published in August.

The Government welcomed the report for highlighting the issue of business waste and waste reduction. But in its response, added that the importance of these and other issues had been raised in the Waste Strategy 2007 and that good progress on the strategys targets had been made.

Responding to concerns about funding, the Government response said current arrangements for waste reduction ensured necessary funding was available. It said reintroducing ring-fencing would constrain the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs flexibility to deliver in the most effective manner.

The Government also defended its Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS), which was described as a crucial scheme to ensure compliance with the Landfill Directive. In the response it said: Rather than restructure waste targets and costs, the Government is putting in place support to encourage local authorities to address commercial and industrial waste.

Suggestions that budget cuts for delivery bodies such as the Waste & Resources Action Programme could damage business recycling were rejected. In the response, the Government said the move from individual business projects to develop the evidence base for improving businesses resource efficiency was in line with Defras wider strategy on behavioural change. It said this selective approach to funding had led to a lowering of funding for delivery bodies.

The Government does not agree that removing hypothecation of a proportion of the landfill tax undermines our commitment to tackling commercial, industrial and construction waste. Funding ringfences are being loosened across Government departments, to provide maximum flexibility and deliver value for money, the response said. But it added: Ring-fences were always re-examined through the spending review process with a presumption against their retention.

There could be some financial respite on the way as a reduction in VAT to encourage repair work is under consideration. However, the final decision is reliant on policy changes at European Union level.

The response also said it was actively considering landfill bans for specific waste streams and new or stronger sector specific voluntary agreements, like the Courtauld Commitment. Other areas under consideration included stronger standards on public sector purchasing, using the Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement and new consumer-facing campaigns to change environmental behaviour.

A new system of individual producer responsibility (IPR) for waste electronic and electrical equipment was supported in principle but the complexities of such a system were highlighted. However, the Government has agreed to explore the options for introducing an IPR.


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