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MP calls for waste policy to switch departments

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) should be responsible for resource efficiency and waste policy rather than Defra, a Conservative MP has said.

Laura Sandys MP

Laura Sandys MP (Con), left, said waste is generally seen as a “liability” and consequently it is overseen by departments that “restrict and regulate it, rather than seeing it as an opportunity”.

Speaking at LRS Consultancy’s launch event for their report, ‘A Practical Path to Resource Efficiency’, she said: “If you move waste to BIS, they will look at the opportunities for it.”

Sandys is chair of the 2020 Group’s Productivity and Efficiency Commission, which will publish a report in January to advise Chancellor George Osborne on methods to make the UK more resource efficient.

She discussed the creation of a new sector named ‘Re-made in Britain’, which could concentrate on using waste as a resource and generating new business ideas.

Sandys said: “Businesses need to think differently. They should be looking at productivity, profitability and resource use.”

Detailing issues with the UK’s current policy, Sandys said companies are buying vulnerable, long-term supply chains, which represent an economic risk. She also warned of an inability to compete with prices, considering the large amount of resources that the UK imports.

She also highlighted the importance of communication, adding: “Resource efficiency should be treated as a hard business issue rather than a fluffy sustainability one.”

A recent report by the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) said the UK was not fully capitalising on domestic waste and export markets.

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