EFRA investigating the impact of Defra ‘stepping back’ from waste

The Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee is investigating the impact of the decision by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to ‘step back’ from creating new waste policy.

In December 2013, Resource Minister Dan Rogerson wrote to members of the waste and resources industry warning them that, from April 2014, Defra would be ‘stepping back’ from some of its waste policy work.

In his first official address to the industry, Rogerson wrote that due to funding cuts, government had been ‘reassessing Defra’s activities on waste management for 2014/15 to focus on the essentials that only Government can and must do’.

As such, Rogerson said that ‘from April 2014’ Defra will ‘not have the capacity to take forward new policy work in areas such as commercial and industrial waste and construction and demolition waste, as well as proactive energy from waste policy development’.

In light of this, EFRA has today (31 March), launched an inquiry into 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 calling on members of the industry to submit written evidence on the following issues:

  • 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;
  • the pros and cons of compulsory household waste 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; and
  • the feasibility of the introduction of a ban on landfill and/or incineration in England.

Written submissions for this inquiry should be no longer than 3,000 words and should be submitted by Thursday, 8 May to the Waste management in England inquiry page on EFRA’s website.