Defra’s consistency consultation delayed

Publication of Defra’s second Consistency Consultation has been delayed until after the local government elections being held on 6 May.

Food waste collections are considered a 'high priority'

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) today (15 April) emphasised that it remains “absolutely committed” to the changes proposed but confirmed that the document will not be out until after the elections. A full purdah period when government announcements generally can’t be made is now in force.

Costs of food waste collections are thought to have been discussed within government

Three consultations

Consistency is one of three consultations around a huge shake-up for the UK’s recycling system. Consultations have been issued on (1) Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging and (2) on plans for a Deposit Return Scheme (see story).  Defra sees all of its proposals as as “landmark waste reforms… overhauling the recycling sector”. (Variations and similarities apply across nations within the UK).

Reasons for the delay in Defra publishing the second ‘Consultation on Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections in England’ have been seen widely as down to last-minute discussions over the costs of food and garden waste collections with other government departments, including the Treasury and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, because of the cost to the public purse.

Defra has committed to funding new burdens for councils, such as nationwide food waste collections, and has also wanted garden waste collections to be free, with the latter opposed by many local authorities. In contrast, EPR and DRS proposals will be paid for by industry and the consumer.

Duke of Edinburgh

The Department says it is committed ‘to overhauling the recycling sector’

It is thought that there had been some resolution over funding commitments and the document would have been published early this week which would have been allowed under pre-election rules. But, tighter purdah rules came into force from 14 April.

And, with the death of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, nearly all government announcements have been put on hold scuppering any publication of the consultation ahead of the full 14 April purdah deadline.

‘Soon as possible’

A spokesperson for Defra said: “We are absolutely committed to overhauling the recycling sector and we will publish further proposals for Consistent Recycling Collections as soon as possible following the local elections.”

The Department is understood to be resolute in its aim to introduce consistent recycling collections in England from 2023 including regular separate collections of food waste from every home and business, which, it says, will boost recycling levels across the whole country.

Related link
The first consultation document on Consistency was issued in 2019 and can be seen here 2019 Consultation on Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections in England – Defra – Citizen Space


The Resources & Waste Strategy Revisited Conference is taking place online on 12 May 2021. This full day conference will explore responses to the consultations bringing local authorities and all aspects of industry together for essential information sessions, networking and discussions.  Find out more HERE.


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