Parliamentary committee to investigate Defra “stepping back” from waste


The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is to launch an inquiry into the impact of Defra’s decision to no longer develop new policy work on waste.

MPs on the committee will undertake an inquiry that will examine what impact this will have on England meeting its recycling targets, whether targets should be higher than those stipulated by the EU and the feasibility of landfill and/or incineration bans in England.


On the committee website, it said: “From April 2014, Defra will be ‘stepping back’ in areas of waste management where businesses are better placed to act and there is no clear market failure. The department will not take forward new policy work, including developing energy from waste.

“This inquiry will examine existing approaches to the recycling and treatment of municipal waste in England, and the impact of the reduction of Defra’s activities in municipal waste management.”

The committee is inviting written evidence on the following issues by 8 May 2014:

  • The ability of existing recycling policy measures to ensure that England reaches the EU target of recycling 50 per cent of household waste by 2020
  • Whether England’s national recycling targets should be higher than those stipulated by the EU; and the pros and cons of compulsory household recycling
  • The role of businesses and households in municipal waste recycling and recovery
  • Whether England has the right balance of waste treatment technologies between anaerobic digestion, incineration with energy recovery and gasification to produce fuel/heat/power
  • The extent to which increasing the capacity of thermal treatment plants could impact England’s municipal waste recycling rates
  • Whether anaerobic digestion is the best option available to deal with food and other biowaste, whether the Government’s Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan has substantially increased the use of AD
  • The feasibility of the introduction of a ban on landfill and/or incineration in England.