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Science report on waste and resources imminent

The long-awaited report on waste and resource efficiency from the Government’s chief scientific adviser (GCSA) will be published within days, MRW understands.

mark walport

Mark Walport - small

Sir Mark Walport (pictured) announced the report and commissioned a series of chapters from specialists, including those from the waste industry and local authorities, in June 2016.

The aim, according to a GCSA spokeswoman, was “to explore issues of waste in a cross-cutting, multi-disciplinary way”.

At the time, it was expected to be published by the end of 2016.

Publication was not forthcoming but, in an update, the spokeswoman has now told MRW: “The GCSA, Sir Mark Walport, intends to publish From Waste to Resource Productivity, co-authored by Professor Ian Boyd, chief scientific adviser at Defra, in the near future.”

Walport is leaving the post to become chief executive of the United Kingdom Research and Innovation agency, which will oversee and co-ordinate the work of the research organisations when it formally takes control on 1 April 2018.

The Government Office for Science annual report, published on 4 September, said the forthcoming report “looks to transform the dialogue around waste to unlock productivity by moving from creating waste to valuing resources, identifying practical solutions for policy-makers to reduce material wastage, and maximise UK competitive advantage.

“It will do so by exploring how science, technology and engineering solutions can decouple growth from overexploitation of resources, and build resilience to shocks from volatility in raw material prices and environmental change.”

Walport’s report is the first of a number of waste sector reviews and strategies to be launched by the Government.

On 31 July, environmental consultant Anthesis was awarded a contract to carry out an analysis of the UK’s waste infrastructure for the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).

The NIC issued a notice for the contract in July.

The purpose of the study is to “identify the best value infrastructure investment strategy, weighing the costs of separation and different treatment/disposal pathways against the economic, environmental and social benefits”.

There are also indications that Defra’s 25-year plan could also be published by the end of the year.

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