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UK now strictly on waste two-step

In last week’s leader, I questioned Defra’s shrinking role at the helm of policy for the waste sector.

It came as MRW profiled Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead, whose aggressive agenda in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland seems far removed from England’s.

Then, after MRW went to press, WRAP Cymru held its annual conference, which highlighted the waste momentum generated by both governance and the wider society in that part of the UK. This week’s issue has WRAP Cymru head Beth Winkley setting out what is happening in Wales.

And so to Whitehall’s formal response this week to the European Commission’s consultation on EU waste management targets. The submission acknowledges that, although the UK’s devolved administrations were consulted, it should be considered a response by the Government, not individual nations. The bulk of it is gloomy reading for those who worry about ministers’ feet being taken off environmental accelerators.

Earlier this month, new resource minister Dan Rogerson called for greater initiative from industry itself. Bath’s Business Improvement District (BID) could be a perfect example of just that. A full trade waste and recycling service, unique in the UK, has attracted nearly half of the city’s 600-odd relevant businesses in just six months.

But it has not happened without the influential injection of £100,000 from the BID group itself. That subsidy will taper off within three years, but the organisers are confident the economies of scale mean it has a bright future.

More importantly, it is another example to waste producers and business in general that they should be far more savvy with resources they typically show insufficient regard for.

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