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Waste industry speaks out about WRAP 'super body' plans - UPDATE

The waste industry has given a mixed response to the Governments plans to give the Waste & Resources Action Programme the green light to become a super delivery body.

From next April, WRAP will begin leading programmes currently run by the likes of the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme and Envirowise.

Last week, WRAP announced that Environment Secretary Hilary Benn had signed off proposals in order for it to become a new resource efficiency body. (see MRW story)

The bodies that will come under the WRAP leadership will be the following:

  • NISP
  • Envirowise
  • The Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse
  • Construction Resources and Waste Platform
  • Action Sustainability
  • Business Resource Efficiency and Waste centre for local authorities.

BREW national coordinator Helen Bird told MRW: From a BREW point of view this movement towards a single delivery body will bring more efficient services to businesses and local authorities and overall it will be for the good.

In order to become a single delivery body, WRAP will implement its structure around four priorities including developing markets for recovered, recycled, remanufactured materials and energy-from-waste.

Container supplier Straight chief executive Jonathan Straight said he had mixed feelings about WRAPs plans. He said: We have to wait and see what will happen it could be a good or a bad thing. It will be down to Liz Goodwin and her team that this is handled in a correct manner.

There are voices in the industry which have been cynical about the massive power that WRAP has in the past. They took the view that if you do not agree with WRAP that it will be tough for you because WRAP wields tremendous clout.

Straight joked: David Cameron said that he will close quangos not delivering value and if he decides to close this one he will get seven in one go. If I was working in a quango at the moment I will not feel comfortable.

He added that some bodies like NISP are lightweight and do not have a massive impact on their own and will be better placed under a single delivery body.

He also said he was concerned about the energy-from-waste factor included in WRAPs plans.
He questioned how an organisation that promoted waste minimisation was focusing on incineration.

Compliance Link director Edward Cook agreed and said WRAP focusing on EfW was a concern. He added: It is a good idea to have one body but it is disappointing for them to have such small savings for bringing so many bodies together.

However, WRAP has stated that incineration was not on the agenda and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be leading in the EfW area.

A WRAP spokeswoman said: EfW is not the central issue in the themes, but will form part of the single resource efficiency bodys wider role in delivering Defras policy priorities. Defra, through its Waste Infrastructure Delivery Programme, is proposing to run a capital grants programme to encourage large energy users to convert their facilities to use solid derived fuels and are currently working on messages to engage consumers on EfW.

WRAP is working to provide specific technical expertise to Defra to understanding about the scale of the market for EfW and if necessary carry out work on its behalf along the lines of our previous market economics reports, pricing information and gate fees. Defra will continue to lead on communicating about EfW to consumers.

Environmental Services Association chief executive Dirk Hazell said: Providing a one-stop shop makes sense. However, our over-riding interest is not institutional adjustment but whether WRAP does what is right rather than what is easy. For example, WRAP could become much more effective in promoting green public procurement to drive markets for recycled materials or in helping local authorities to produce better quality materials for recycling." 

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