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Gove urged to reverse decline in recycling

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Industry groups have written a joint letter to new environment secretary Michael Gove urging greater action on several fronts, including food waste, crime and the UK’s declining recycling rate.

The letter has been sent by the Trade Association Group (TAG), representing leading organisations in the sector (see box), congratulating Gove on his appointment and seeking an early meeting to discuss future policy.

“We believe that improvements in resource efficiency – the way in which materials, energy and water are used in the UK economy – should be a central theme in the Government’s industrial and environmental policies and strategies, notably the 25-Year Environmental Plan, the UK Industrial Strategy and the National Infrastructure Assessment,” the letter states.

The letter seeks the following steps:

  • A long-term policy framework for waste and resource management, building on the foundations previously laid by EU waste and resource legislation, so that the industry has the confidence to invest in the infrastructure urgently needed to maximise the recovery of valuable materials, energy and nutrients from waste.
  • Urgent action to reverse the decline in recycling rates. More needs to be done to prevent food waste, to increase separate collections of food waste from homes and businesses when it cannot be prevented, and to increase the demand for secondary raw materials.
  • Action over the escalating levels of waste crime, which costs the UK economy more than £600m a year.

The letter adds: “We look forward to working with you and your ministerial team at Defra on these pressing priorities, and to meeting you in the near future.”

Gove replaced Andrea Leadsom as Defra secretary of state in the post-election reshuffle but Defra’s other ministers kept their positions.

TAG signatories are:

  • ADBA: Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association
  • CIWM: Chartered Institution of Wastes Management
  • ESA: Environmental Services Association
  • ICE: Institution of Civil Engineers
  • REA: Renewable Energy Association
  • Resource Association
  • WRA: Wood Recyclers Association

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