Newly appointed resource minister Dan Rogerson has written to members of the waste and recycling sector to inform them of a reduction of activities in the area for 2014/15.
In a letter sent out today (November 6), Mr Rogerson wrote that waste is one of his priorities but added that from next year, the Department will focus on essential areas of work and will look to act when on issues that only government can and must do.
In addition, financial support for local authorities also looks set to be slashed. Mr Rogerson added: 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 also noted that Defra will be stepping back in areas where businesses are better placed to act, and said that the Department will not be looking to develop any new policies 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.
We have been reassessing Defras activities on waste management for 2014/15 to focus on the essentials that only government can and must do. This recognises that governments role should reduce as businesses increasingly realise the economic and commercial opportunities that arise from resource efficiencies and tackling environmental challenges. It also reflects that public funding is under extreme pressure and Government must ensure that this limited funding is focussed on the key priorities.
Meanwhile, work on developing the anaerobic digestion industry in the UK, which had begun with the launch of its AD strategy published in June 2011 will also be scaled back, with Defra noting that responsibility for taking work forward will rest with the industries concerned.
Finally, the letter notes that following the publication of the Departments Waste Prevention Programme later this year there will be a limited programme on waste prevention, but the Minister adds that this will only look at areas where action is clearly for government.