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Industry offers mixed reaction to quango cuts

Figures in the waste industry have offered a mixed reaction to the Cabinet Office announcement of the abolition of quangos operating in the waste management industry.

The cuts, which will see the Advisory Committee on Packaging, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Advisory Board and the Renewables Advisory Board abolished, has been greeted with caution by some.

ADBA chairman Lord Redesdale said: “DECC and Defra are making important decisions about the future of all renewable sectors, including anaerobic digestion. It is vital that the knowledge base is within the Departments themselves, working in partnership with the trade bodies.”

However, an ERP spokesperson told MRW that the previously announced closure of the WEEE Advisory Board was “acceptable” as long as those functions were continued: “In times of major cuts, there’s recognition from ERP that if money can be saved, it should.

 “While the role of helping to scrutinise legislation and methods is important, as long as that process of dialogue and information sharing continues, the loss [of the WEEE advisory board] is acceptable.”

DHL Supply Chain Head of Environmental & Compliance Solutions Jos Daalhuizen also greeted the news with caution, he said:

“Having worked closely with many waste management quangos including WEEE on innovative and progressive industry initiatives, DHL believes that the decision to abolish several of these key bodies is not to be taken lightly. 

“Agencies that promote the reuse, recycling and the prevention of harmful waste are key to sustainable business; however, we are delighted that BIS will continue in its place. DHL recognises the need to reduce costs and welcomes the opportunity to work increasingly closely with local authorities to assist with advancing waste management policy and improving efficiency.”

However, the news was welcomed more positively by Local Government Association chair Baroness Margaret Eaton: “Councils have been campaigning for years to cut the number of unaccountable quangos and give local people power over the services that matter to them.

“As we face the toughest spending review in memory it simply isn’t acceptable to have decisions over help for millions of people decided by unelected officials remote from the front line and it is good that Ministers have recognised this.”

The announced cuts to arms length bodies also revealed that the Environment Agency is “under review.” A Defra statement explained that the department had been working with the Agency to “transform them into leaner, more efficient front line delivery bodies focused strongly on the Government’s ambitions for the environment and the green economy.”

The statement also warned of “significant change across the organisations” and mooted a new delivery model which will see back office costs reduced.

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