Waste heavyweights extend olive branch to Defra

Resource management and waste industry leaders have sought to defuse tensions with Defra over its plans to cut back involvement in the sector by offering to work closely with the government.

Five industry bodies (Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Environmental Services Association, Renewable Energy Association, and Resource Association) have sent a joint statement to Resource Minister Dan Rogerson in response to his letter dated November 6, which stated that Defra will be reducing its activity in some areas of waste and resource management from next year.

Instead of criticising the government, as many have done, the organisations wrote that they “would like to offer to work closely with Defra to help turn this situation around”.

They state that the following key areas need to be addressed: waste crime; recycling; collection methods; hazardous waste; commercial and industrial waste, and waste prevention.

In the statement, the bodies said that they hope that cracking down on waste crime will remain a priority for Defra “and that despite your letter of November 6 and the recently announced cuts in Environment Agency staff sufficient resources will be allocated to tackling this issue. We recently met with your officials to discuss further ways of tackling waste crime and we have committed to providing feedback and ideas on how we can work together”.

Industry leaders also said local authorities are asking for formal guidance from Defra on how to interpret and apply the separate collection requirements of the Waste Framework Directive in light of the Judicial Review outcome.

The organisations also said that they would like to work closely with Defra on the ‘due-to-be’ published England Waste Prevention Programme next month.

They concluded: “The work done over the past 18 months on the MRF Code of Practice (CoP) shows what can be achieved by close and consultative working between your officials and the interested parties. We would like to see this approach applied to the other key areas identified above so that the scarce resources available to your Department can make the most impact.”

Liz Gyekye

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