Waste sector trade body the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has urged the incoming Conservative government to look immediately at flagging recycling rates following yesterday’s (May 7) General Election.
David Cameron’s party looks to have won an outright majority in the polls, despite much of the build up to the vote indicating that a hung parliament was likely.
The ESA’s executive director Jacob Hayler said today that the organisation is ‘looking forward’ to working with the new government to ensure that waste and recycling is among the issues on its agenda.
And, Mr Hayler highlighted the need to address flat-lining recycling rates in England as a key issue for the sector, with figures published yesterday confirming that progress towards the statutory 50% by 2020 household waste recycling target has levelled out (see letsrecycle.com story).
In a statement issued this morning, Mr Hayler said: “From the emerging results it looks as though the Conservative Party is likely to form the next government. We look forward to working with them to ensure that waste and recycling issues are well represented on the agenda for the next Parliament. The recycling industry has gone through a challenging time in the past 12 months but is well placed to provide jobs at all skills levels all around the country as we recycle more of our waste.
“A key environmental priority for the next Government should be to find a way for us to meet our 2020 household recycling targets without local authorities going bust. The industry is keen to help the Government solve this conundrum as well as other issues affecting our sector.”
And, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management today said that the in-coming Conservative-led government needs to get resources and wastes management “back on the priority list for action. Neither have featured in the party’s election campaign despite their clear importance in delivering jobs and sustainable economic growth, as well as protecting people and the environment.”
Resources and Waste UK
The job creation that can arise from a green economy, with better use of resources and more recycling, is one of the areas that the new government will be told to focus on by the recently-formed Resources & Waste UK lobbying organisation.
RWUK was set up last year by the ESA and the CIWM and is set to announce its wishlist for the new administration in a letter to the new secretary of state for the environment.
This will include a call for continuing action on waste crime with regular funding for Environment Agency work. The organisation will also seek government support for the development of the EU’s circular economy package.
And, RWUK is to also emphasise the importance of meeting the 2020 recycling target of 50% for municipal waste.
The circular economy was also commented on today by Ian Hetherington, director general of the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA). Mr Hetherington said: “The Conservative Government has to play a decisive role in Europe as the European Commission redevelops its circular economy package which will be revealed in autumn. Then, a comprehensive set of core policies in this arena must be implemented to provide certainty and inform industry investment decisions over the next five years.
“We hope that the whole topic of waste, reuse, recycling, resource efficiency and the treatment of unrecyclable residues is debated fully in place of the fractured sub-topical monologues that have characterised recent years. The recycling industry has done a great deal to further this agenda, but we do need a strong lead from the Government to ensure that the positive value of material destined for recycling is not frittered away by the over-zealous and over-complicated enforcement of regulations designed for genuine problem wastes.”