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Defra should support industry, says waste sector

A few weeks ago here at Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com), we drew attention to complaints from the waste collections industry about the recent letter sent to them by resource minister Dan Rogerson, suggesting that his department would be scaling down waste activities. Now, waste sector trade associations have come together as one to again urge Defra to back industry.

In the November 22 letter carrying the signatures of the Environmental Services Association’s (ESA) director general as well as the chief executives of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association (ADBA) and the Resource Association, there was a warning of already “stalled” progress in such areas as waste prevention and waste crime.

The correspondence follows Mr Rogerson’s initial letter to waste recycling representatives on November 6, in which he had informed them of a reduction in Defra’s waste management activities from 2014/15. Despite describing waste as a priority for him, Mr Rogerson said that the near future would not see the  development of any new policies on commercial and industrial waste or energy from waste by the government.

In their joint response, the associations described waste as “a valuable source of materials, energy and nutrients.” The associations said that even an adverse economic climate had not prevented strong growth in the industry in recent years, and that there was potential in the future for further green growth to be driven and jobs created.

The UK recycling representatives continued: “As organisations representing responsible operators and professionals in the sector we are concerned that progress in improving resource management in England had already stalled in a number of areas even before the Minister’s recent announcement.

“However, rather than simply criticise the Government, and recognising the resource constraints in his Department, we would like to offer to work closely with Defra to help turn this situation around.” Flagged by the group as areas that needed to be addressed were collection methods, waste crime, commercial and industrial waste, waste prevention and hazardous waste removal.

The statement continued: “We have found that close and consultative working achieves positive results, and therefore we would like to see this applied to the key areas identified above, so that the scarce resources available to Defra can make the most impact.”

But it was not the only letter sent to the minister by a representative of the group over the last week or so, with ESA chairman David Palmer-Jones having also bemoaned the failure of regulatory body the Environment Agency to enforce waste and resources regulations, as he said was undermining legitimate work.

What does your business make of Defra’s scaling back of work in the sector and the trade associations’ response? Whatever your answer, and irrespective of your company’s present business waste requirements, you can rest assured that those needs will be catered for by the comprehensive, cost-effective and compliant services of Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com).