Viridor chief executive Ian McAulay (pictured) has said he is “dismayed” over the Government’s drive to reduce regulation in the waste industry and called for better funded enforcement agencies.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) head of regulation Sam Corp has also said that cutting red tape “is not our priority”.
In July the waste industry was chosen for the Government’s Cutting Red Tape programme to shed “unnecessary regulation”. Resource minister Rory Stewart has indicated that one of his top priorities to help the UK waste sector is to get rid of “bureaucratic hurdles” facing businesses.
But speaking at a RWM session, McAulay said: “This is not about cutting red tape to cut costs. This sector needs regulation.
“It needs to be properly funded. It needs more regulation, not less. It needs to be properly managed and it needs to be designed around outcomes.
“How do we design effective regulation to get to 70% recycling targets, for example? How do we properly fund regulating authorities to eliminate things like waste crime, which is holding us all back?”
In its submission to the Cutting Red Tape consultation, which ended on Monday, the ESA called for “consistent but robust application” of rules rather than watering down existing regulations.
It also called for “proportionality of regulation” and a focus on criminal activity that harms the environment rather than on “minor technical breaches”.
Corp said: “Cutting red tape in the industry is not therefore our priority. The key issue for us is not the regulations themselves but their enforcement.”
In an interview with MRW editor Robin Latchem recorded for RWM, Stewart said he wanted to support legitimate business.
“We have also put more money into waste crime prevention. The industry is based on rules, it’s based on environmental regulations, that’s how the industry to some extent makes its money.
“The key is going to be to get that balance right.”
He also said he thought that Scotland and Wales, which have higher recycling rates and more centrally controlled waste policy, could show the way for the rest of the UK.
“One of the things that devolution has given us is the opportunity to learn from one another,” he said.