A letter from the Material Security Working Group sent to the Government has called on it to form a new Office of Resource Management to co-ordinate Whitehall activity on threats to the economy.
The Materials Security Working Group, which includes manufacturers’ organisation EEF and Friends of the Earth, warns that if the UK doesn’t develop a stronger strategy to keep valuable raw materials circulating within the economy, there will be significant consequences for UK industry.
The group wants the Government’s Resource Security Action Plan, that was published in March, to be strengthened and its ambitions raised.
With the costs of raw materials rising substantially in recent years, a century-long decline in these prices has been wiped out in a decade.
Despite recent price falls, the group expects materials such as wood, plastic, rubber and rare earth metals to become increasingly costly.
As well as the creation of the Office of resource Management, the group would like to see a task force to review existing targets and recommend policy changes to improve recycling, and a ban on preventing recyclable materials being sent to energy from waste plants and landfills unless there is an environmental case for doing so.
EEF head of climate and environmental policy Gareth Stace said: “We live in an age where global demand for resources is surging with prices on an upward trend and concerns about shortages mounting.
“While the Government’s Resource Security Action Plant was a step in the right direction, it falls short of meeting the challenges we face when obtaining new resources will become more difficult and costly.
“Government must now step up its ambitions and produce a bolder plan of action that deals with the challenges not just now but in the longer term. This is vital not just from an environmental perspective, but to ensure a long term sustainable future for manufacturing and the wider economy.”