First drafts of the Waste Review should be in Ministers’ boxes by Christmas according to Defra waste review project manager Andrew Gregory.
Speaking to delegates at the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) national conference, Gregory confirmed that the timetable for publishing the Waste Review in May 2011 would be met as “there was no room for slippage”.
He said the review would have a “clear focus on what can be delivered in this parliament” and to ensure the country was “on course to meet EU targets”. But he added: “I don’t think it will have every policy and all actions nailed down by then.”
While some policy, such as hazardous waste, was likely to be little changed, Gregory said others would be “Coalition-proofed” to fit in with its move towards localism and the Big Society, while policies on food waste and AD, for example, would be “brand new”.
“The review document will ultimately serve as a national waste management plan, as required by the EU Waste Framework Directive, which is currently done by Waste Strategy 2007,” he said. This includes how the country will meet EU landfill diversion targets and household recycling targets.
Outlining how the review would be different to the existing waste strategy, he said it would include: use of materials throughout the economy; integration of business and household waste; the smaller role of central government, with more in the hands of local communities; putting households and businesses at the centre of actions; and a greater focus on waste prevention and the green economy.
Policy positions are likely to cover: working with local authorities to respond to the needs of householders; taking a new approach to the enforcement of waste regulation; looking more to responsibility deals and building on the Courtauld Commitment, possibly including the hospitality sector; removing barriers to SME recycling; making the AD action plan part of a broader, clearer position on energy from waste; and looking at new measures to incentivise the waste hierarchy.
Gregory said that the clearer position on energy from waste and how AD fits within that, would be outlined in the review document in order to address criticism that Defra thought AD was the only answer. In addition, he said that Defra’s detailed strategy to encourage AD measures that was outlined in its business plan and due to be published in May 2011, is likely to be a separate document to the waste review. Reference to a “huge” increase in EfW through AD will be dropped in these documents, as the Prime Minister’s office has stipulated that any stated changes must be measurable and the word ‘huge’ had been difficult to quantify.