EEF trashes government waste policies

Manufacturers' organisation, EEF, has attacked the Government's industrial waste policies in a report which describes them as "confused and fragmented", and "lacking in strategic vision".

The report urges the Government to draw clear lines of responsibility and less duplication in formulating and delivering waste policy to prevent embarrassing policy clashes such as increasing the requirement to dispose of hazardous waste while limiting the options for doing so (see related story).

It comes in the same week as the second reading in the House of Commons of the clean neighbourhoods and environment bill, which aims to create cleaner, safer and greener communities through tackling such problems as litter and fly-tipping. It is also being sent direct to Ministers ahead of a planned review of the government’s ‘Waste Strategy 2000’, later this year.

EEF is calling for a new strategic advisory panel to review the current and future capabilities of the UK waste management infrastructure. In addition, it says that overall responsibility and accountability for the delivery of waste policy should clearly sit with one Minister, rather than be split across a number of Government departments as at present.

Gary Booton, EEF Director of Health Safety and Environment said: “An inadequate policy approach simply adds more pressure to the problem, as we’ve seen before in the domestic sector, with the fridge-mountains and with increased local fly-tipping. Government needs urgently to get a firmer grip on this policy area and, working closely with industry, help manage the costs, provide better incentives and develop new routes for disposal and reuse of waste material.”

Specifically, the report argues that revenues from the Landfill Tax should be targeted on improving the infrastructure for dealing with waste disposal and on investment in process re-engineering; that government should provide incentives to encourage companies to improve waste management, including grants and new market opportunities; and that the Manufacturing Advisory Service productivity programmes should be extended and linked into waste minimisation and resource efficiency through Envirowise.

“Industry is working hard to meet the challenges and develop the opportunities of dealing responsibly with waste, but without the necessary reforms there are major concerns that our waste management system is ill-equipped and inadequately prepared to deal with this agenda,” Mr Booton added.

By David Hopkins

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