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Gove seeks help in developing green policies

The environment secretary has called for help in shaping policy, saying the UK has an opportunity to be a global leader in fighting climate change.

In a speech, Michael Gove referred almost exclusively to farming and the environment and made no reference to resource efficiency. But his comments prompted leading voices in the waste sector to debate on Twitter the need for extended producer responsibility (EPR).

Gove was speaking at a reception in London hosted by the Green Alliance (GA), an independent think-tank supported across the political spectrum, which advocates policies concerning natural environment, energy and industrial strategy.

He called on those at the event to help him.

“I need to ensure that the decisions we take about subsidy and regulation, about penalties and incentives, about new market mechanisms and new Government edicts is shaped with one aim at its heart: the enhancement of our environment.

“We have an opportunity to be global leaders in the fight against climate change.”

David Palmer-Jones, chief executive of Sita, spoke to Gove after his speech and later told MRW that the minister wanted to know what the waste sector needed. 

Palmer-Jones said he urged action around extended producer responsibility (EPR) and greater waste capacity, with appropriate regulation as required.

The EPR theme was developed afterwards on Twitter in an exchange between Palmer-Jones and Paul Vanston, chief executive of Incpen, the packaging industry council.

Vanston tweeted: “There is a fair bit to work out on EPR but I’m confident those paying can lead the progress that will be made.”

Palmer-Jones replied: “EPR is paid by consumers of products. By shifting responsibility to producers incentivised for the right behaviours you get systemic change.”

Vanston: “I feel good things can happen when councils, companies & customers can think & work in sync. Let’s help Defra make systems work better.”

Suez technical development director Stuart Hayward-Higham added: “It’s essential that the skills, data & knowledge of all elements of the value chain are aligned & used to deliver the common goal. Not easy!”

Vanston suggested a meeting organised by Incpen and the Environmental Services Association to involve the whole supply chain, to which Hayward-Higham replied by tweeting that if the ESA and Incpen ”can together propose a common message & describe the value chain, that could create the basis of a conversation”.

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