Business Secretary Sajid Javid and Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss have agreed that the Environmental Regulation team will transfer from BIS to Defra, under changes that will come into effect on 1 April.
The Environmental Regulation team has responsibility for a range of waste related-briefs, including waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), end of life vehicles (ELVs) and tyres, and waste batteries and accumulators, all of which will now be run from within Defra.
The six-person Environmental Regulations team will be moving from BIS’ headquarters near London’s Victoria Station to Defra’s Nobel House head office.
Responsibility for the policy development and monitoring of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electrical equipment, and for substance restrictions relating to packaging, will also be absorbed by Defra.
In a written statement, Prime Minister David Cameron today confirmed the switch, writing: “This written ministerial statement confirms that responsibility for environmental regulatory functions will transfer from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This change will be effective from 1 April 2016.”
And, in a further statement, the government added: “With much of the legislation and related work split between the two departments, transferring the team and resource from BIS to Defra will enable, and ensure, greater coordination of government policy and the combined regulatory responsibilities.”
The transfer comes shortly after cuts were made within BIS, which includes the planned closure of the Department’s Sheffield office by 2018, with the potential for a number of job losses, some of which could potentially affect the Environmental Regulations team.
Ahead of the 2015 General Election a number of senior figures in the waste sector as well as some politicians were calling for the transfer of recycling officials from Defra to BIS.