Waste Management Plan for England


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has today (15 July) opened a consultation on a Waste Management Plan for England

The plan does not contain any new waste management measures of policies, but rather brings together the findings of government’s 2011 review on waste policy and ‘current policies under the umbrella of the one national plan’. As such, Defra estimates that there are ‘no costs and benefits arising from the plan itself (though there are of course costs and benefits associated with the policies referred to in the plan)’. 

Plan to ‘set out analysis of current waste management situation’ 

Developed in response to Article 28 of the EU’s revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD), the plan must ‘set out an analysis of the current waste management situation in the geographical entity concerned, as well as the measures to be taken to improve environmentally sound preparing for reuse, recycling, recovery and disposal of waste and an evaluation of how the plan will support the implementation of the objectives and provisions of this Directive’. 

Rather than asking for specific thoughts on waste management policies, the consultation asks ‘anyone from any background’: 

  • whether the plan and waste planning policy will fulfil the obligations of the rWFD, as far as England is concerned;
  • whether they agree with the conclusions of the Environmental Report (which appraises the ‘significant environmental impacts of the waste management plan’); and
  • whether they agree that there are likely to be ‘no additional burdens for businesses, consumers and local authorities from adoption of the plan’. 

The plan will be complemented by the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) 'Planning for Sustainable Waste Management' policy, which will set out considerations relating to the location of waste infrastructure. Defra has said the DCLG will be consulting on an updated planning for sustainable waste management ‘this summer’.

Once a finalised waste management plan is released, all planning authorities in England must refer to it and the updated waste planning policy when deciding waste planning applications under the Town and Country Planning Act 2004. Local waste authorities must also ‘have regard’ to the plan when producing local waste plans. 

Equivalent plans are also reportedly being produced by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Plan is 'no surprise'

Speaking of the consultation, Matthew Farrow, Director of Policy at the Environmental Services Association (ESA) said: "Defra had made clear that the plan was intended to ensure compliance with the WFD rather than to break new policy ground and so the approach taken by the document is no surprise and does provide a useful summary of Defra’s overall waste policies. 

"There is a separate debate about whether Defra should be more ambitious in terms of exceeding the WFD targets and identifying where it can do more to enable business to build a circular economy... encouraging more demand for recycled content in products and promoting separate food waste collections are two areas we think need more attention."

The extended consultation is open until 9 September 2013.

Europe’s rWFD also requires member states to establish National Waste Prevention Programmes (NWPPs) ‘not later than 12 December 2013’. Defra has said that England’s NWPP is ‘still under development’.

Read more about NWPPs and the Waste Management Plan for England.