Resource minister Dan Rogerson MP underlined the government’s commitment to confronting waste crime at the annual CIWM and ESA conference in London.
Emphasising the impact on communities and the legitimate waste industry, the Minister commented that Defra and the Environment Agency are committed to developing a policy and regulatory framework to ensure that waste crime is controlled. The Minister also mentioned new sentencing guidelines and an additional £5m of government funding that will be made available for enforcement.
In the attempt to encourage the move towards a more circular economy, Mr Rogerson stressed the importance of valuing materials in a different way and making sure that the approach ties in with the broader sustainable consumption and production agenda. He went on to highlight the vital role Defra has to play in facilitating the shift towards improved resource efficiency.
The two day conference covered a number of issues within the industry, from planning and future policy beyond 2015, to the challenge of delivering higher quality recycling, and delivering the right services and infrastructure for the future.
Debates explored issues such as the role of the EU in the future to drive further progress on waste and resources, the validity of reconsidering ‘pay as you throw’ as a route to increasing recycling and the importance of behaviour change.
In conclusion, Tony Juniper said that it is clear that the UK still has a way to go in comparison with the higher targets being proposed by the European Commission. A clear roadmap, the right tools, integrated policies and clear messages will be needed in the 2015 party manifestos.
In addition, there needs to be a reframing of the waste and resource debate in order to introduce the wider benefits it offers including jobs and recognition of the importance of ‘natural capital’.
Both CIWM and ESA have welcomed the Minsters comments. CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said:
“This joint conference emphasises the benefits of partnership working between the industry’s leading professional body and its main trade association. We warmly welcome the high level government and opposition presence at this year’s conference and hope that it helps key policy decision makers to better understand our sector’s priorities and needs.”
ESA Director General, Barry Dennis said:
“We are particularly encouraged to hear that waste crime continues to be a government priority and welcome the Minister’s commitment to further action in this area. ESA has already supported the recent ESAET waste crime report that has highlighted the true impact and cost to the UK economy, and we look forward to working with Defra and the Environment Agency on moving this agenda forward.”