A cross-sector group of representative bodies for the waste sector has sent a joint letter to the new resource minister, Rory Stewart, urging a meeting to discuss policy direction.
The letter highlights key areas in which which Defra could help improve resource management in England, and help boost the country’s waste and recycling performance.
The group includes the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Environmental Services Association and the Resource Association while a number of local authority bodies are also involved in the umbrella Waste Network Co-Ordinators. A joint statement says:
“Over the past few years our organisations have worked together to articulate a unified voice for the waste and resource management sector and this has proved effective.
“We are writing to you now to welcome you to your new role as Minister in Defra responsible for resource management… However, we are concerned that progress in improving resource management in England has stalled and we would like to offer to work with you and your officials at Defra to help turn this situation around.”
Three key areas are specified:
The rate of increase in household waste recycling and composting in England has levelled off and it is not certain that the EU target of 50% by 2020 will be reached. The markets for recycled materials are currently very weak and prices are making a reduced contribution to the cost of collection and sorting. More needs to be done to prevent food waste and to recover it when it can’t be prevented. We would like to work with you to see what can and should be done to address these issues.
Investment in new waste treatment, recycling and reprocessing facilities
The industry would like to invest but in order to do so it not only needs viable markets but also leadership from Government and a policy framework for the next 10 or 15 years, as has been put in place by the Scottish and Welsh Governments. The European Union is about to bring forward fresh proposals in this area and we would like to discuss this with you and help you to formulate the UK government’s position.
This costs the UK economy over £500mm a year and blights local communities and the environment. We hope that cracking down on waste crime will remain a priority for the Government, and that sufficient resources will be allocated to the Environment Agency and local authorities for tackling this issue. Your department has recently consulted on possible additional measures to tackle waste crime and we would like to discuss next steps with you and with Treasury Ministers, given the implications of waste crime-related tax evasion for the Exchequer.