The coalition Government’s mid-term review has offered nothing new in the way of waste policies.
The 48-page review document considers the Government’s policies over the first half of its term, and mentions Green Investment Bank investments in the waste sector, and energy from waste strategy.
Industry figures have found the review disappointing and highlighted the urgency of creating new policies in the waste sector.
“It’s disappointing that the review shows the government still don’t get the importance of resources and the green economy,” said Phillip Ward, former director at WRAP.
Matthew Farrow, director of policy at the Environmental Services Association, the waste industry trade body, said: “The complete absence of waste/resources policy in the mid-term review - the obligatory reference to AD [anaerobic digestion] apart - is disappointing but not surprising.
“It reflects No 10’s view that there are more political risks than opportunities in more ambitious waste policy, and is also a recognition that raising expectations in advance of the Waste Review was a mistake.”
CIWM chief executive Steve Lee told MRW the review neglects to recognise what resource efficiency and security can do for economic growth: “It should be noted that sustainability is key to delivering green growth and the environmental industries and resource efficiency and security offer strong investment potential. If the UK doesn’t do it, then somebody else will.”
Industry non-executive director Paul Levett said: “In terms of the mid-term review, it is essential that Government moves quickly beyond the consultation and review stages to execute policies. Whilst theoretically the Government runs until May 2015, the final year will be focussed on the manifesto and election build up.
“We need early clarity on energy incentives, the MRF Code of Practice, end-of-waste and the correction of the PERN system in 2013 if green businesses are to obtain investment in infrastructure and jobs.”
Laura Wilton, manager of the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group at think tank Policy Connect, urged the Government to move forward on waste policy:
“Building on these achievements [outlined in the review], the Government must now focus on tackling food waste, promoting higher quality recyclate and embedding the waste industry as a key pillar of the green economy, in order to ensure green growth and to meet key European targets”.
Farrow added that the industry needs to lobby the government on waste policy: “Its up to all of us who care about these issues to make the case to this Government that it can, and must, be bolder making the connection between waste and resource management, the circular economy and economic growth.”