The government is “desperate” for policies for the waste and recycling sector after Brexit, former environment secretary Lord Deben declared today (7 December).
He told UK’s anaerobic digestion sector annual conference in London that delegates should come forward with solutions to help the industry expand and develop .
Lord Deben – who as John Gummer was secretary of state – was addressing the audience at the National ADBA Conference. He is now chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, and he discussed the next steps for government to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets.
Lord Gummer said that in the wake of Brexit, the government is “desperate” for ready-formed policies. And, he explained: “Greg Clark, as a minister, has made it absolutely clear that what he wants is for the industry to step up and give to him what the industry feels that it can offer, rather than him, as a minister, telling the industry what it has to offer.”
Better communication is the way to make government aware of the benefits of anaerobic digestion Lord Deben suggested, which he noted as “reducing the effects of climate change, improving soils and eliminating a very large amount of waste.”
And, Mr Gummer explained that this communication needed to be extended to the general public.
“We ought as an industry to recognise that we have a real responsibility to speak about what happens, what we do and how we can contribute, in a language which the public can understands,” he said.
In regards to the recent publications of the Industrial Strategy and the Clean Growth Strategy, which Lord Deben described as “remarkable documents”, he said: “However good they are, however strong on intention they tend to be short of precise details. It is in a sense our job to put those details in and I do believe we need to give a pre-formed, pre-packaged, pre-built policy and I think this government would be significantly willing to do that.”
Charlotte Morton, chief executive of ADBA, in her introduction praised the benefits of the sector’s work and explained that industry needs to demonstrate why it deserves support from Government.
“I do feel that we might be turning a corner in government recognising just quite how formidable the AD industry is.”
Although, she explained the past years have been difficult with financial support being withdrawn, she said: “I do feel that we might be turning a corner in government recognising just quite how formidable the AD industry is.”
However, she said it has potential to do more. “There are few industries that can so successfully support our economy to date whilst protecting tomorrow,” she said.
“If AD is to make this contribution to achieving the UK’s policy goals it needs to receive support from Government in return. This is why it is critical that the government tables its planned legislative changes to renewable heat incentive or RHI as soon as possible.
“For every day that passes without AD operators having certainty over these future tariffs the amount of investment into UK AD businesses that comes under threat increases.”