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Uncertainty over key policies continues as Defra adresses RWM

A senior Defra official has told the RWM conference the department is yet to assign the waste brief to a minister following last week’s Government reshuffle as uncertainty surrounding key policies grows.

Defra’s head of waste strategy and regulation Richard Pullen reiterated that new ministers would want to “take stock” of policy “and form their own views”, raising the spectre of further delays.

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Addressing a packed theatre at the Birmingham NEC on the opening morning of the trade show, Pullen confirmed the long delayed National Waste Management Plan, initially due in spring 2012, was now intended to be published “by the end of 2013”.

On the MRF code of practice consultation, which as MRW reported last week has been delayed from August, Pullen said the department could still not give a firm date.

“It certainly will be one of the issues on the new ministers’ desks and we will make sure they consider that as a matter of priority”, he said.

Pullen also noted other policies in development, including: 

  • A review of restrictions on materials to landfill, including textiles and biowaste as well as the ongoing consultation on wood waste, by the end of this Parliament
  • As part of the Red Tape Challenge, the department will consult on de-coupling planning permission and the granting of environmental permits to give operators more flexibility over sequencing applications.
  • Powers to seize vehicles suspected of involvement in waste crime.
  • The long delayed energy from waste guide, delayed from the beginning of 2012, should be published this autumn.
  • A review of the three producer responsibility schemes –packaging, batteries and WEEE – to identifies ways to reduce the burden on business and improve coherence between regimes.
  • Develop a waste prevention programme plan for England by December 2013.

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