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Official list confirms QUANGO cuts affecting the waste sector

It has been confirmed that the Advisory Committee on Packaging and the Renewables Advisory Board will both be abolished by the Coalition Government as part of its much anticipated “bonfire of QUANGOs”.

The full list of 177 Quasi Autonomous Non Governmental Organisations (QUANGOS) to be abolished was officially released today (14 October) by the Cabinet Office. This follows the publication of a leaked list by the Telegraph on 24 September, which led to speculation as to which bodies would be cut.

As well as The Advisory Committee on Packaging and the Renewables Advisory Board the list also confirms the pre-announced closures of the WEEE Advisory Board, The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) and the Audit Commission.

The Advisory Committee on Packaging was established in 1996 and helps introduce recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste, as well as reducing the impact of packaging waste on the environment, while the Renewables Advisory Board provides advice to the government on a range of renewable energy issues.

As well as the 177 bodies being axed, the list also details a further 129 bodies which are being consolidated into just 57 and an additional 94 bodies which are said to be still under review.

The Environment Agency, the Carbon Trust and the Energy Savings Trust were all listed as ‘under review’.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) was not mentioned in any of the published lists. MRW was told by Defra that the current review does not include WRAP as “it is a private company limited by guarantee and therefore not covered by this review of public bodies”.

Commenting on the cuts, Environment Secretary Caroline Spellman said: “Defra’s current delivery network contains over 90 arm’s-length bodies and there have been difficult decisions to make in order to achieve the best value for money in this challenging economic climate. The announcement today confirms that the number of Defra’s arm’s length bodies will reduce by over half.

“But the changes announced today also reflect the government’s view that it should only carry out those functions which only government can do, while harnessing the power of civil society and the private sector to help deliver Defra’s objectives.”

The waste sector has also been quick to respond to today’s announcement. WYG chief scientist Stephen Bolt commented: “The UK Environmental Regulatory system has been incredibly effective in delivering environmental improvements to the unique UK ecosystem and this brings benefits for all of us. It is imperative that a full and transparent debate takes place before major changes are made to the regulatory system.  Today’s announcement states that the Environment Agency, Natural England, Ofwat and the Forestry Commission are all to be retained and substantially reformed.”

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