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Government waste review could eschew numbered waste targets

The Government’s forthcoming review of waste policy could be little more than a “series of case studies” and offer no numerical waste targets, according to speculation circulating in the sector.

Friends of the Earth resource use campaigner Julian Kirby told MRW: “It’s an open secret the waste review is shaping up to be little more than a series of glowing case studies with no policy detail as to how to make them commonplace - in other words a totally deregulatory approach. Rumours abound of confusion and frustration – and even when it talks about good stuff, such as more prevention and reuse, when it comes down to what can make those things happen, there’s no detail and certainly no ambition.” 

He added: “The minister himself told us that he eschewed setting targets, something we found odd, given even the Defra business plan talks about setting goals for the 2014-2020 period. These are supposed to be published in May, but everyone we talk to says they hear there certainly won’t be any numbers on any goals, which can only make for the vaguest of policy documents.”

Although there has been little word from Defra regarding the review, which was first announced in June 2010, it was expected that the outcome of the review would lead to the establishment of a waste prevention programme, or a waste strategy, which England must have in place by 2013 under the revised waste framework directive.

Kirby said: “We have to have a waste reduction plan by 2013. But we understand that because Lord Henley wants to avoid a consultation, he’s avoiding the waste review being a waste plan, which is what’s required under the WFD, so that’s going to happen later.

“You’d have thought that having spent a year on a vast public consultation as part of this review, they’d make the most efficient use of all the Government time and consultees’ effort and roll it into one. If you’re trying to be an efficient Government, taking care of tax payers’ pennies, you’d get straight onto the plan rather kicking it into the long grass for a year. ”

He suggested these rumours could stem from the Government’s ‘one-in-one-out’ rule regarding future regulation, and the distaste for exceeding the terms of implementation of EU directives when transposing them into UK law, known as  “gold-plating”.

A recently published statement from the department  for Business, Innovation and Skills stated: “We are fulfilling the Coalition Agreement’s commitment to end gold-plating so that British businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their European counterparts when we implement EU Directives. Any gold-plating therefore counts as an ‘IN’ for One-in, One-out purposes.”

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