Clients of the waste collections of Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) may be interested to read of the new warning by recently appointed resource minister Dan Rogerson, that Defra will cut back on activities in the waste and recycling sector for 2014/15.
Although Mr Rogerson described waste as “one of his priorities” in a letter sent on November 6, he added that from next year, there would be a renewed focus from the Department on “essential” areas of work, with action being taken on issues that “only government can and must do.”
Therefore, it may not surprise those recycling old computers to hear of a likely reduction in financial support for local councils, with Mr Rogerson commenting: “Given the strong financial case for Local Authorities to realise efficiencies from their waste contracts, we will be reducing the amount of generic support we provide to them in this and related areas.”
He said that there were areas in which businesses were “better placed” to act where Defra would decrease involvement, and that there was also no intention for new policies to be developed by the Department on commercial and industrial waste or energy from waste.
Mr Rogerson wrote: “These are challenging times, and the government has had to prioritise its work to make the best of public funding. It is because of this that I am writing to you today. I regret that the first contact I will have with many of you is to inform you of reductions to our activities. However, I wish to reassure you that this area is one of my priorities.”
He continued that the reassessment of Defra’s waste management activities for 2014/15 recognised that there should be a reduction in the government’s role as the economic and commercial opportunities arising from resource efficiencies and the addressing of environmental challenges was increasingly realised by businesses. In addition, he stated, it reflected the “extreme pressure” that public funding was under, with government needing to use the resultant reduced funding to focus on key priorities.
Organisations concerned with the disposal of hazardous materials may also be disappointed by news of the scaling back of work to develop the UK’s anaerobic digestion industry, which had begun back in June 2011 with the launch and publication of its AD strategy. Defra stated that “the industries concerned” would now assume responsibility for taking work forward.
Also noted in the letter are plans for a “limited” Waste Prevention Programme once it is published before the end of the year, but the Minister stated that only the areas where action is “clearly for government” will be scrutinised.
Certainly, the statement is an honest one suggesting the need for the waste services sector to take its share of continued cutbacks in financial support. But whatever the situation in government, here at Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com), we will continue to provide our renowned UK recycling services to the very highest standard.