When the coalition came into power in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron pledged that this would be the “greenest government ever”. However, these credentials are being severely tested with announcements – intentional or otherwise – that some see as attempts to row back on green policies. As the government reduces spending in attempts to deal with the deficit, many policies to do with the environment are being reduced or shelved altogether, and that’s a cause for concern for those who work in the waste management industry.
It’s got to the point where the major trade associations in the industry have come together to write a joint letter urging DEFRA not to curb its activities on waste. The letter, addressed to resources minister Dan Rogerson, has been signed by the heads of such groups as the Environmental Services Association, the Resource Association, Renewable Energy Association, Anerobic Digestion and Biogas Association, and Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, the LetsRecycle website reports.
All the groups are concerned by a ministerial announcement saying that the department would cut its activities in the next financial year, meaning that there’ll be less activity and investment in tackling waste crime and increasing recycling rates.
Rogerson has told the industry the he doesn’t intend to develop new policies on industrial waste, nor would the government look at energy recovery from waste – this at a time when the UK is facing an energy gap which could be partially addressed by energy recovery.
We’ve seen a copy of the letter, and we endorse the waste industry’s view that now is not the time to scale back government support for waste. In particular, this section is especially valid: “Waste is a valuable source of materials, energy and nutrients. The industry has grown strongly over recent years despite the adverse economic climate and has the potential to drive green growth and create jobs in the future.”
Business Waste is committed to green policies and creating jobs through better handling and re-use of waste. Pulling the rug from under the industry just as important corners are being turned in public perception of how we deal with our waste will cost jobs and cost the environment dearly.
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