Resource minister Dan Rogerson has told MPs that waste “remains an important issue for Defra”, despite the organisation’s decision to ‘step back’ from the sector.
Defra’s decision not to promote policy in parts of the waste management sector has been a theme in an inquiry by the Efra committee into waste management, with Sita UK chief executive David Palmer Jones telling a recent session there was “no way” Defra should take a back seat in the drive to meet recycling targets.
Asked by one MP if Defra’s withdrawal was “premature and dangerous”, as other witnesses had implied, Rogerson conceded: “If we were to withdraw altogether there would be implications.”
Questioned why some had made such claims, he replied: “You would have to ask the other witnesses why they had said that.”
Rogerson maintained that Defra would remain involved in waste and recycling projects, “especially if there are gaps in interest [from private business] then we can help”, citing giving financial support for some anaerobic digestion projects as an example.
He also highlighted Defra’s current work on food waste initiatives and its work with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the circular economy as examples of the continued interest in the sector.
“It’s important,” he said, “within Defra that we maintain focus on resource efficiency. We absolutely risk losing out if we don’t look at waste as a resource.”