Hopes that Defra’s forthcoming 25-year plan could act as a spur to government focus on waste and recycling policy have been temporarily dashed, after the Department confirmed it has put the plan on-hold.
However, a spokesman has said that the Department still remains ‘committed’ to publishing the plan.
In February the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) revealed that it is working to develop a long term strategy that will dictate act as a ‘comprehensive’ plan for the environment, due to be published before the end of the year.
And, speaking at a Parliamentary Committee session on the Environment yesterday (6 July) Viridor’s Dan Cooke called for government to include long-term recycling targets, similar to those laid out in the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package, within the strategy (see letsrecycle.com story).
However, Defra has written to stakeholders today confirming that it will not be publishing the plan before the end of the year, as a result of the decision to leave the EU taken in last month’s referendum.
A spokesman has however, reassured stakeholders that the publication of the plan does remain a departmental priority. He said: “As the Environment Secretary has made clear, a 25-year plan for the environment is a Conservative manifesto commitment, though the nature of the plan will change since the UK decided to leave the EU.
“We all now have an opportunity to consider our long-term vision for the environment following the referendum vote. We look forward to continuing to work with a wide range of interests to determine that vision and to work together to deliver it.”
When the scope of the plan was outlined in February, it was revealed that the strategy would seek to ‘ensure the environment is appropriately maintained and improved so it flourishes and continues to underpin our economic success and wellbeing’. It also pledged to pave the way for a ‘more intelligent, risk-based approach to monitoring, regulation and enforcement’.
Specific actions likely to have been included were the development of new approaches for tackling waste crime, including using £20 million from reform of the Landfill Communities Fund.