Business owners taking advantage of IT recycling services from Collect and Recycle (http://www collectandrecycle.com) are likely to be interested in the news that Defra has undergone several changes as part of the latest cabinet reshuffle of the coalition Government. It means a potential review of Defra’s waste and recycling brief for the second time in just over a year.
Former waste minister Lord Taylor had been in his role for just over 12 months when he was replaced by Lord de Mauley in September 2012. Now, there is uncertainty as to whether the incumbent will keep the waste portfolio, although it appears that he will remain within the Department as its House of Lords representative.
Already confirmed is the return to the backbenches of Defra minister Richard Benyon, although news is still awaited by UK recycling stakeholders on any further departmental changes. The Conservative MP for Newbury may not have held the waste brief within Defra, but he had nonetheless acted as a House of Commons spokesman for the department on such issues as refuse derived fuel, packaging waste and the proposed levy on single-use carrier bags.
Also exiting Defra, those using waste services may be interested to read, is the MP for Somerton and Frome, David Heath, who replaced James Paice as farming minister in September 2012. In place of the departees are George Eustice, the Conservative MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, and the Liberal Democrat MP for the constituency of North Cornwall, Dan Rogerson.
Mr Rogerson is no stranger to the waste recycling sector, on account of his involvement with the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, while he was also a public opponent of the plans of Cornwall council to build an energy-from-waste (EfW) plant in the county. Mr Eustice, meanwhile, is a previous advisor to David Cameron on energy and climate change issues and sat on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee.
Mr Eustice’s experience of the waste sector so far extends to visits to third sector refuse organisations while he was a parliamentary candidate, in addition to the opening of a materials recycling facility (MRF) in Cornwall earlier this year. However, confirmation is still awaited on who will pick up the outgoing Benyon’s portfolio.
There were also personnel changes in the shadow cabinet for waste disposal companies to take notice of, with Labour leader Ed Miliband appointing shadow transport minister Maria Eagle to the role of shadow Defra minister, in place of Mary Creagh. Ms Eagle, the MP for Garston and Halewood, will be accompanied by Gavin Shuker, the Luton South MP who is presently Labour’s environment minister.
With one of the last acts of Ms Creagh in the shadow Defra post being to pledge a landfill ban on food waste in the event of a Labour victory at the next election, these are interesting times for those recycling business waste – and Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) will keep you updated on all of the latest developments.