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Shop window on the sector’s future

The build-up to the RWM with CIWM annual event is, as ever, palpable. The waste and recycling industry is in the shop window and it is bound to be a lively display again.

The sector may boast growth while UK plc has struggled, but it has not been an easy journey, and we have regularly echoed calls for greater Whitehall commitment to help it play an even bigger role in the economy.

In this column this time last year, we questioned how the new environment secretary Owen Paterson would get on when there was little evidence in his political background to suggest empathy with the sector. The jury is still out.

In May, MRW welcomed an innovative investor symposium hosted by Paterson in London which seemed to indicate recognition of untapped potential in the industry and a desire from Defra to do more to help generate economic growth.

Apart from an overhaul of regulations in the Red Tape Challenge, we have seen little else from his direction - although the decision in June to retain the Environment Agency was welcome.

If anything, the single biggest driver of change has been China, where the Green Fence policy appears to have borne down on material quality in the UK. And the BIS should be praised for helping the Green Investment Bank get off the ground.

Finally, Lord De Mauley deserves recognition for clocking up the hours and miles as resource management minister and his commitment in his first full year. De Mauley’s support for the recent report from the Circular Economy Task Force shows, for a politician, a welcome interest in the strategic future of the sector.

It is a future which is at the heart of RWM. Enjoy the show!

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