Shuker: Labour would unite Whitehall on waste

Labour is exploring the idea of an Office of Resource Efficiency, which would sit in the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and join up policy across government.

In an exclusive interview with edie, shadow waste minister Gavin Shuker said that a new office was needed to advise government on how to secure increasingly scarce resources, which are crucial to the UK’s future prosperity.

“It’s about giving it the prominence that it deserves as an issue,” he said. “The most crucial long-term challenge that we have in terms of growth is how we can gain access to the materials that facilitate growth.

“It shouldn’t be just a small unit in one department. It has to be something that has clout across Whitehall.”

Shuker, who will be making a policy statement at the Resource & Waste Management (RWM) show in Birmingham next week, has been chairing Labour’s policy review on waste, slammed the coalition’s track record in office.

He accused the Government of failing to give waste policy the steer it needed to attract investment.

“If you look at the departments that waste, resources and recycling touch upon – Defra, DECC, DCLG, the Treasury, BIS, there is at least a question about how best you manage policy across all those different departments,” he said.

“We have to do everything we can to spark investors to invest and that’s around policy certainty and a clear and consistent message across the whole of Whitehall and that’s for me what’s been lacking in the last few years.”

The shadow minister’s comments come a month after the material security working group, a consortium of business and environmental organisations, called on the Government to set up a new office of resource management.

The group would like to see the Coalition strengthen its resource security action plan and raise its ambitions.

A full interview with Gavin Shuker will appear in LAWR’s October issue.

Nick Warburton

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