Government Responds In England To Efra Report Into Waste Management

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Government has reacted to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee report into waste management in England, subsequent to the Committee.

The report, Waste management in England,concluded that Government must act to improve recycling rates across England by 2020, or risk failing to match with EU recycling targets.

Defra reiterated that it had not “stepped back” from all waste and resource management policy, but “refocused activities in regions that only Government can and must do.”
It said “market failure” refers to a scenario where the market hasn’t and cannot itself be expected to produce an efficient result.

Defra -“As in the case of complete resource efficiency policy, we are focussed on identifying evidence of market failures such as misaligned incentives, where damaging consequences drop on individuals or organisations which weren’t the source of the action or where the regulatory framework could be unsuccessful,” it said.
With regards to stagnating recycling rates in England, Efra advocate that Defra contemplates introducing reintroducing demands such as statutory recycling targets for councils and refreshed policies.

Defra pointed to the fact that some believes local authorities should lead on establishing the most suitable recycling arrangements for their area, taking into account local circumstances and it have rates in excess of 60% and that lots of local authorities have already surpassed 50% recycling rates.

“The Coalition Government currently has no plans to reintroduce statutory recycling targets for local authorities,” it said.

Reiterating its lack of support for rigid objectives, specifically affecting the 70% recycling goal by 2030 (as set before the European Commission (EC) dropped the circular market package), Defra said it will not support rigorous new goals “unless there are clear economic and environmental benefits that surpass the prices.”

Defra – “We will want to make sure that the Commission’s anticipated new proposition to encourage annular market will enable flexibility, ensure that costs are warranted by expected impacts and make an environment that welcomes innovation”

The EC recently declared the withdrawal of its proposition to amend EU waste legislation and for it to be replaced by a brand new, “more challenging” proposal by ending 2015 to encourage circular market.

“We will wish to ensure the Commission’s hoped-for new proposal to boost circular economy will enable flexibility, ensure that prices are justified by estimated impacts and create an environment that welcomes innovation,” Defra said.
In response to the Committee report advocating Defra to increase financing to WRAP “if signs indicates it crucial in the lead up to 2020”, the Authorities said priorities should be made to make sure that work undertaken makes the most effective use of public capital, suggesting funding is not going to be increased.

Efra said that it additionally supported government to move towards “banning the landfilling of all recyclable waste by 2025”.

Defra said it considers there are “more efficient” choices than limitations in this region, and evidence implies that restrictions would probably impose additional costs on businesses, particularly SMEs.

“It’s just once EU discussions on any new proposal have substantively reasoned that Defra would have sufficient clarity to contemplate what further action, including on support and infrastructure, will be necessary to fulfill future EU measures,” it said.

Business Answer

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) commented, saying that it “lacks ambition”.

The executive director of ESA, Jacob Hayler said: “It’s disappointing that Defra remains focused narrowly on fulfilling our European targets and continues to forego opportunities for the UK to take a lead on resource problems. It is evident from its response to the EFRA Committee report the Government proceeds to see waste as not a chance and a potential price.

ESA – “It is clear from its response to the EFRA Committee report the Government proceeds to view waste as a possible cost and not an opportunity”
“We shouldn’t be waiting for Europe to show us how to exploit the untapped value in our waste resources. We should be setting in place to maximise the occupations and investment, which could flow from building a modern and competitive circular market in the United Kingdom.

If Defra actually considers its own rhetoric about supporting options higher up the waste hierarchy and recovering value from waste afterward it requires to do more to help create the right investment states to maximise the use of our secondary resources.”

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