A letter sent by new Resources Minister Dan Rogerson has disappointed trade associations in the resources and recycling sectors.
In the letter, the Minister said that Defra would need to scale back its efforts on policy areas concerning resource efficiency, commercial and industrial waste and energy from waste.
CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said: “We fully acknowledge the economic pressures facing the department and it has been clear for some time that the amount of resource dedicated to waste and resource management has been significantly reduced. As a dynamic and growing industry, which the Minister acknowledges its significance in terms of economic growth, we should view this as an opportunity to work more collaboratively where we can drive progress and change, particularly in helping the businesses and sectors we serve to becoming more resource efficient…
“…Waste prevention should be a top priority moving forwards and we are disappointed at the mention of ‘limited programme of work on waste prevention’ in the letter. We have already called for more vision from the Government in this area – which is widely acknowledged as being challenging to deliver. Real progress will require sustained communication and intervention beyond what we have so far seen put from the department and we will be raising this with the Minister at the earliest opportunity.”
Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “The new Minister is to be applauded for his directness and honesty about the reduction in Defra policy capacity even if some of this message may be unpalatable to some in the industry.
“In the present economic and political climate there is an inevitability about this announcement and it is right for Government to step back where the business case for action is made and markets are working to drive resource efficiency forward.
“However, tones and signals are important, and so as a first major announcement from him it does generate concerns, as there is a real danger it sends a negative message to investors and the public alike that the Government is disengaging.
“We sincerely hope this is not the case, and note that the Minister seeks to reassure and states that resource efficiency and waste remains a priority for him. We therefore look to him for some early practical signs of this.
“A good starting point would be clarity on the timetable and detail of the proposed MRF regulations, which we are pleased to see he specifically mentions in his letter and commits to implementing.”