The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has given the Government an amber rating on resource efficiency and waste out of red, amber and green.
MPs on the committee looked at a range of environmental policy indicators and scored the Government on the progress made. This included everything from emissions and climate change to biodiversity, forests, water availability and of course resource efficiency and waste.
While air pollution, biodiversity and flooding and coastal protection received a red ‘risks’ warning, everything else was marked as amber.
Therefore, MPs called for the development of an Office for Environmental Responsibility as well as legal commitments to protect the environment.
Committee chair Joan Walley MP said: “Our inquiry provides a wide ranging examination of the state of the environment and shows that further and continued effort is required to protect it properly.
“A dedicated, wide ranging ‘Environment Strategy’ is needed, overseen by a new Office for Environmental Responsibility to ensure the Government meets the requirements to protect human health and the natural world.”
The report from the Committee said that there were benefits from moving from a linear to a circular economy. To address this, the Committee had recommended differential VAT rates based on lifecycle analysis of the environmental impact or recycled content of products, tax allowances for businesses that repair goods or promote reuse, removing trade barriers for remanufactured goods and embedding the circular economy into industrial strategies.
MPs from the cross-party committee were concerned that the transition to a circular economy looked difficult when England was not likely to meet the UK’s 50 per cent municipal waste recycling target by 2020.
The report said: “We concluded that the Government’s approach lacks leadership and that it must do more to ensure that the right conditions are in place so that many more businesses shift from a linear approach to a circular one.”