A consultation is underway on an updates Waste Management Plan for England, however, Defra’s documents contain no new policies on waste management.
The waste management plan will complement the waste planning policy, PPS10; this policy outlines what planning authorities should take into account when considering proposals for new waste infrastructure.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will itself consult on the updated version of PPS10 this summer. Defra has issued a statement highlighting that the main aim of its consultation ‘is to seek views on whether the Plan, when combined with the updates waste planning policy, will fulfil the obligations of Article 28 of the revised Waste Framework Directive as far as England is concerned.’
Director of Policy at the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Matthew Farrow said:
“Defra had made clear that the Plan was intended to ensure compliance with the WFD rather than to break new policy ground and so approach taken by the document is no surprise and does provide a useful summary of Defra’s overall waste policies”.
“There is a separate debate about whether Defra should be more ambitious in terms of exceeding the WFD targets and identifying where it can do more to enable business to build a circular economy.
“We set out our thinking in our recent report ‘Going for growth: A practical route to the circular economy’, and encouraging more demand for recycled content in products and promoting separate food waste collections are two areas we think need more attention.”
This is the approach advocated by a new Green Alliance report ‘Resource Resilient UK’, from the Circular Task Force that was published yesterday.
The taskforce’s chair, Julie Hill, mentioned that seven leading companies, plus government delivery body WRAP, Defra, BIS, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and a line-up of the UK’s most important business institutions, had contributed to the analysis.
Author of the report, Dustin Benton, said:
“Our analysis shows that companies in the UK want and need to avoid resource security risks. There’s a lot that businesses can do on their own, but the government needs to help”.
He stressed the importance of reuse, recycling and remanufacturing within business. Amongst its recommendations are“much greater commitment from businesses to use long term contracts and joint ventures to speed up recovery of materials and products.”
He went onto say:
“Manufacturers could recover components rather than just raw materials: the recovered components in an iPhone are worth over 200 times the value of the raw materials used to make them, these new supplies would also be less exposed to energy, water, and other material security risks.”
Additionally Gareth Stace, head of climate and environment policy at EEF, a manufacturer’s organisation, responded to the report by saying:
“We now need a clear delivery plan on how we move this forward. This has to be kick-started with a full debate with manufacturers, designers, local authorities and the waste management industry to establish the feasibility of these suggestions and identify any unforeseen impacts.”
Another Defra consultation on scrapping the Site Waste Management Plan regulations, which ended yesterday was aiming to, if implemented, stop builders from having to prepare plans on how they are expected to deal with building waste.
ESA’s Head of Regulation, Sam Corp, criticised Defra’s proposals:
“ESA regrets the proposed repeal of the SWMP regulations, which have played a useful role in helping the construction industry to reduce waste at no or little cost, whilst we understand some of the arguments for repealing in terms of reducing administrative burden, we do consider that the SWMP have helped highlight the need to consider the resource efficiency and the waste hierarchy when managing waste from construction projects.”
“We also consider that SWMPS introduced a level of control and traceability over how waste materials are managed which may be lost if the regulations are repealed.”
Saying that it seems “inconsistent that whilst Defra has put forward various arguments for repealing SWMPs, the Welsh Government is doing the exact opposite and has stated a number of benefits for introducing SWMPs in its recent consultation on introducing the requirement in Wales. These benefits included improving recycling in the construction and demolition sector and addressing the numbers of illegal waste sites.”