The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has set out its wish-list for the chancellor ahead of the Budget, calling on the Treasury to provide leadership in driving resource efficiency and boosting UK productivity.
The ESA says the waste and resource sector currently faces a number of urgent challenges: landfills are closing at a faster rate than alternative facilities are coming on-stream; reprocessed materials are struggling to compete with primary resources; waste crime; and uncertainty over the future of UK waste policy following the vote to leave the EU.
Chancellor Philip Hammond (pictured) and The Treasury are urged to focus on four areas:
- Reform of current extended producer responsibility schemes to make producers responsible for the end of life of their products, while relieving cash-strapped councils of the pressures of rising waste management costs
- Greater support for the Environment Agency and HM Revenue & Customs to tackle waste crime
- Green public procurement rules in favour of recycled materials to boost recycling
- A commitment that landfill tax will remain at current real levels to help the industry plan for the future
Executive director Jacob Hayler said the ESA hoped the Government would recognise the potential of the waste and resource industry in the Budget, as well as the “urgent challenges” it faced.
“With recycling rates going backwards and investment in new treatment capacity insufficient to replace closing landfills, the industry needs the Budget to help set a clear direction for waste and resources that enables us to plan and invest for the future.
“These measures will help to unlock much-needed investment in our industry, which will enable us to deliver green economic growth and thousands of new jobs across the country.”
The Resource Association (RA) issued its own wish-list, which similarly included a call for a new approach to green public procurement to boost recycling.
It recommended revisions to the packaging recovery note system to ”level the playing field” in favour of domestic reprocessing. Defra’s figures published last week show the majority of UK packaging recycling is done overseas.
The RA also called for greater transparency in the reporting of the end destination of recycling collected by councils and industry, to refresh public confidence in the process and improve participation rates.
Chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “There is plenty more we could call for. But if the chancellor delivered all of this tomorrow, he would make me and many others in our industry very happy indeed.
”I always remain optimistic but, that said, I’m not expecting to be cracking open the champagne tomorrow.”