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MPs lay into waste strategy

The Government's waste policy has been savaged by politicians.

Inaction and lack of funding has led to some laws doing more harm than good, according to The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Conservative MP Michael Jack, who sat on the committee, said: "Compared to climate change, waste is in the low profile column.

"The Government has subcontracted the delivery of its waste policies to organisations such as the Environment Agency (EA) and local authorities, which still seem to be short of the resources they need to make current policies on issues such as recycling and the control of fly-tipping really work."

The all-party group of MPs received evidence that nearly 700,000 tonnes of hazardous waste remained unaccounted for following July's ban on co-disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

The committee thought it had probably been illegally dumped.

According to a report the MPs published this week, this was because increased costs of disposal gave "perverse" incentives to fly-tip. Also, enforcement was not tough enough for laws to be effective.

It said the EA needed extra money to tackle crimes such as fly-tipping.

The MPs suggested that this could be funded by an increase in Landfill Tax to £35 per tonne, which should be done as soon as possible.

The Government was also accused of failing to provide information and guidance on European legislation early enough to be helpful to industry.

MPs were unconvinced that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) could achieve its ambitious targets for reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.

The report, Waste policy and the Landfill Directive , recommended that DEFRA listen to the Local Government Association's request for funding to improve market intelligence ahead of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS).

MPs said it was not clear that DEFRA's data strategy included the kind of information on future waste generation that was needed if LATS was to work.

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