Incoming UK prime minister Boris Johnson must be “bold” in implementing and where possible accelerating the proposals set out in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, the ESA says.
Coinciding with the announcement made yesterday (23 July) that Boris Johnson has been elected leader of the Conservative party and will be the next UK prime minister, Defra published the next steps for its Environment Bill and with it, its consultation responses to its Resources and Waste Strategy.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) welcomed the strong support for measures to reduce waste and boost recycling and urged the incoming prime minister to show “bold leadership” in delivering change.
ESA’s executive director, Jacob Hayler said: “Today’s publication of responses to the Resources and Waste Strategy consultations show that momentum is building around the circular economy, and sends a clear message to the incoming prime minister that he must be bold in implementing and where possible accelerating the proposals.
Today’s publication of responses to the Resources and Waste Strategy consultations show that momentum is building around the circular economy, and sends a clear message to the incoming prime minister that he must be bold in implementing and where possible accelerating the proposals
“It is crucial that the quality as well as quantity of the materials we send for recycling is improved. To that end, producer responsibility reform must place strong incentives on producers to design their packaging for recycling.
“Consistent collections should also be fast-tracked as quickly as possible to eliminate consumer confusion and reduce contamination. However, there is no point collecting more material if there is no demand for it.
“The plastics tax is therefore a positive first step in helping us close the loop and stimulate domestic reprocessing.
“A deposit return scheme has the potential to complement these measures in capturing commonly littered and unrecycled materials, so it is important that whatever form it takes, the whole system can work together.
“These early indications on the detail Resources and Waste Strategy are promising. Clearly, further work is needed to ensure the proposals are cost-effective and deliver the right outcomes.”
New chapter for Brexit
The appointment of Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative party marks a “new chapter” in the Brexit process, said environment and sustainability body IEMA, which said the process of leaving the EU inevitably gives rise to uncertainty – for the UK economy, society and environment.
It said in setting out the next steps in the process and articulating a vision for the future, it is vital that the new Government seizes the opportunity to establish a long-term framework for the environment and provide policy-certainty to support investment as we transition the UK economy to net-zero carbon emissions.
Martin Baxter IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor said: “The new leader has an opportunity to put sustainability at the heart of the UK’s economic model. An economy that is fit for the future requires a long-term policy framework to deliver on the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation – unlocking investment to support our future prosperity.
The new leader has an opportunity to put sustainability at the heart of the UK’s economic model
“We look forward to working with the new Government to build on work already underway on an ambitious new Environment Act, and to supporting the delivery of the UK’s 2050 net-zero carbon target.”
To take advantage of the opportunities arising from the transition to a sustainable economy, businesses need a workforce that has the necessary skills and capabilities, IEMA says.
Baxter added: “Our education and vocational skills systems need to fully embed sustainability if we’re to address the UK’s productivity gap and deliver the UK’s net-zero target.
“In schools and colleges – in apprenticeships and degrees – sustainability needs to be embedded in the curriculum, standards and qualifications to equip people with the skills to create a sustainable future”.
More detail needed
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) welcomed the details published on the next steps for the Environment Bill but said much detail is still needed.
Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive said: “There is much to get excited about in this update to the draft Environment Bill, but it’s still lacking in detail and formal policy that will actually bring about improvements needed for our countryside and environment.
There is much to get excited about in this update to the draft Environment Bill, but it’s still lacking in detail and formal policy
“Michael Gove, having reviewed the evidence, pledged his support for an ‘all-in’ deposit return system for all drinks cans, bottles, cartons and pouches and now the plan to legislate for a system has been confirmed.
“All we need now to see this transformational solution to litter in the countryside over the line is the government to follow the ambition that Mr Gove and the Scottish Government have set.
“We also continue to urge the government to ensure the other measures that will undoubtedly transform the way we deal with waste and resources, including extended producer responsibility, are designed to incentivise a reduction in packaging and the creation of a circular economy.”