Waste and resource management sector outlines key priorities for next Government

The major trade bodies representing the UK's waste management and recycling sector have written to the main political parties in England summarising the key policy proposals that they would like to see implemented after the May 2015 General Election.

The priorities hinge on four key policy areas, ranging from expanding the market for recycled and reused products through to combating waste crime.

A joint statement from the six bodies that make up the Trade Association Group (TAG) – The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Resource Association was written yesterday (8 December).

The letter states: “The resource management industry makes a substantial contribution to the British economy. According to UKTI, the value of goods and services produced by the sector is over £12 billion a year, and it employs over 150,000 people.

“The industry is expected to continue to expand, with the Treasury forecasting growth of over 3% for waste management and 4% in recovery and recycling.

“As well as providing jobs and economic growth across the country, the industry supplies important raw materials for manufacturers in the UK and beyond, and helps to protect local communities from environmental blight.”

The proposals put forward for consideration are:

  • Establish an Office for Resource Management, headed by a Minister, to lead and co-ordinate government policy on resource efficiency and waste prevention across departments.
  • Expand the market for reused and recycled products and materials by reforming government procurement rules, putting appropriate economic incentives in place, and placing a sustained emphasis on public communication and engagement.
  • Stimulate private investment in new waste treatment, recycling and reprocessing facilities by setting long term policy goals and targets – along the lines recently proposed by the EU – working with industry and stakeholders to develop methods to achieve them.
  • Protect local communities, safeguard the environment, and reduce tax evasion by ensuring that enforcement bodies and local authorities are properly resourced to combat waste crime.

‘Economic growth’
The trade body said it will continue to work collaboratively in the New Year to reinforce “the important role this industry can play in securing sustainable, long-term, economic growth”.

The waste industry has persistently called on the Government to establish a department to focus on resource management.

Earlier this year, waste industry heavyweight Peter Jones called on the Government to create a ‘super WRAP’ (Waste & Resources Action Programme) body that will bring all the main environmental departments together to help generate value from waste and bring leadership on driving investment in renewable energy.

Jones, who is chairman of energy firm Waste2Tricity, said that a ‘super WRAP’ could focus leading a cross departmental body which could assist in cutting through the “extant blockages slowing down UK progress to a true resource efficient economy”.

He asserted that there was an uncoordinated framework in the UK at the moment. He said different government departments – including the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), Defra, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)and the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) – currently had responsibilities for different areas of the waste and energy sector, which was causing “conflicting economic signals” and is a “paralysis” which is “taking us nowhere”.

Liz Gyekye

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