Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 1

A New Department A New Agenda



  1.  ESA is the sectoral trade association representing the UK's managers of waste and secondary resources, a regulated industry accounting for 0.5 per cent GDP and the turnover of which must double by 2010 if the UK is to achieve what the Government says it wants to deliver.

  2.  ESA's Members want to build an industry less reliant on linear disposal and with greater emphasis on closed-loop management restoring to the productive economy more of the material and energy contained in waste.

  3.  Speaking to the CBI/Green Alliance last year, the Prime Minister said he wished "to push green issues back up the political agenda . . . and do it in constructive partnership [with] government and business." He also outlined the "need to use environmental resources more efficiently and to become a low-carbon, recycling economy." ESA immediately supported this vision.

  4.  In contrast, nothing in DEFRA's draft aim refers to the industry ESA represents.

  5.  None of DEFRA's proposed seven draft High-Level Objectives refers to waste or secondary resource management. (While one of the seven Objectives does refer to promoting sustainable management of natural resources, this appears to envisage primary rather than secondary resources). ESA's remit, 0.5 per cent of GDP, is covered by 29 words in one note to one Objective.

  6.  DEFRA's proposed definition of sustainable development makes no reference to resource efficiency or developing the use of secondary resources.

  7.  There is no reference to implementing the Landfill Directive.

  8.  There is no reference to the Government's own National Waste Strategy.

  9.  These omissions from DEFRA's proposed aim and Objectives document evidence low political priority for developing waste management into resource management.

  10.  The Consultation Document makes it clear that DEFRA's money will follow DEFRA's Aim and Objectives. Omission of our industry from DEFRA's document suggests that the National Waste strategies will remain essentially unfunded. Resources allocated from the New Opportunities Fund and the small share of the EPCS monies to be spent on management of waste, allocated in the 1999 spending review, cannot achieve the required improvement in recycling.

  11.  ESA's Members will need to invest billions of pounds in infrastructure if the National Waste strategies are to be achieved and the UK's existing international obligations honoured. If ESA's Members' hopes to deliver greater environmental sustainability and the Government's aspirations in the National Waste Strategies are to be fulfilled, the Secretary of State needs as a matter of urgency to signal that waste and secondary resource management is a genuinely high priority for her new Department. Amending DEFRA's defective draft Aim and Objectives would be a helpful start.

September 2001

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