National Audit Office report shows Defra does not have delivery plans for EPR, Consistency of Collections and DRS


A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has shown that Defra does not have delivery plans in place for its flagship recycling and waste policies.

Although the Resources & Waste Strategy was launched in 2018, the NAO said that “effective delivery plans that set out how government will achieve its long-term ambitions for resource and waste management do not yet exist. This is making it increasingly difficult for businesses to prepare for investment and regulatory changes that will be required to achieve the department’s long-term plans.”


The NAO also warned that Defra does not know what interventions what decisions about new interventions need to be made, and when, to ensure realistic timeframes for design, testing and implementation. It also doesn’t know what sequence of interventions is likely to produce the most benefit.

On the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), the NAO said that “the effectiveness of the scheme is uncertain and Defra does not currently have plans to trial the scheme”.

NAO head Gareth Davies said: “Reducing waste is critical to reducing emissions and achieving some of government’s wider environmental goals, but Defra does not have effective long term plans for how it will achieve its ambitions for reducing waste, and there has been delay to its implementation of reforms. 

“Defra must now establish a clear and coherent plan for its work on waste and resources, addressing the weaknesses in the reforms already in progress. If Defra takes these steps, it will be in a much stronger position to achieve its ambitions.”

View the report here

View The Recycling Association’s response here