Resource minister holds ‘constructive talks’ with waste industry

Waste leaders united to voice their concerns in person to Defra's new resources and waste minister Lord De Mauley last week, in what was said to be an "open and productive" meeting.

The minister took time out to meet with range of industry associations including The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), the Environmental Services Association, the Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association, the Resource Association and the CBI.

While each organisation represents a different sector, there was a consistent message from all parties that the industry was a green growth sector with huge potential to deliver with the right level of government leadership, co-ordination and support.

Stressing the need for some “nurturing” from government especially during the transitional phase as the sector moves from waste to resource management, a number of priority areas were highlighted.

Chief among them was to start embedding resource efficiency and security in the design of products, processes and services coupled with recognition that the quality of secondary resources is paramount at all stages in the resource cycle.

The minister was urged to consider introducing measures to stimulate domestic demand for secondary resources and to consult with the industry comprehensively on the development of future policy and guidance, especially on major issues such as the national waste prevention plan.

Leaders also called for tougher enforcement by the Environment Agency and other regulatory bodies to clamp down on environmental crime.

According to a spokesperson from CIWM, the minister was also asked to give some indication on other pressing matters.

“Predictably, we asked for early information and action on issues such as the weekly collection support scheme, the MRF code of practice and quality action plan, and energy market incentives,” he said.

However the minister was giving nothing away according to Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson who was there at the meeting.

“There was no hint from him, not even a glimmer. But we are in patient mode, he is new to the role and it was very much a listening exercise,” he told edie.

He added that Lord De Mauley was more vocal on green growth in general, strongly emphasising the importance of the Government’s strategy in this area.

“We were there to tell him that the industry can help the Government deliver this. As an industry we don’t always get the credit we deserve from Whitehall and I think he acknowledged that. He left with a better understanding of the role our sector can play.”

Maxine Perella

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