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Recycling to feature in Defra plan, says Coffey

Resources minister Therese Coffey has said waste and recycling will feature in Defra’s upcoming framework for its 25-year environment plan.

In her responses to two written questions in the House of Commons on 21 October, Coffey said the department would be “consulting widely” on its plans for resources when the framework is published.

Answering for environment secretary Andrea Leadsom, Coffey gave no indication of what the proposals might be.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas asked: “If [Leadsom] will make an assessment of the potential environmental benefits of a tax on disposable coffee cups?”

Coffey replied that packaging waste regulation already required major coffee chains to have a financial obligation to recover some of the cups they produce.

“The industry is also taking further, voluntary action aimed at significantly increasing paper cup recycling rates by 2020,” she said.

“We will be consulting widely on our plans for resources, waste and recycling in developing our 25-year environment plan.”

Coffey made similar remarks about the plan in her answer to Conservative MP Grant Shapps.

Shapps asked: “Whether her department plans to review regulations on food and drink packaging after the UK leaves the EU?”

Coffey replied: “The Government is developing its 25-year environment plan, part of which will consider our regulations for resources, waste and recycling.”

Defra minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble recently said the framework would be published “shortly”, with the full plan expected next year. The framework was originally scheduled for release in spring 2016 and the full plan expected this year, but both were delayed following the EU referendum result in June.

Defra’s initial release dates for the 25-year plan and strategy were included in its departmental strategy until 2020, released earlier this year. The strategy made a commitment to tackle waste crime but it was slammed by many industry figures for not addressing other issues.

At the time, it was criticised by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management for making little reference to industry issues including resource efficiency and security, renewable energy, green economic growth and climate change mitigation.

Outgoing chief executive Steve Lee said: “This plan won’t deliver – we can only hope that the 25-year environment plan promised later this year by Defra does better.”

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