Newly appointed Environment Secretary, George Eustice, has been urged to “continue the strong leadership displayed by recent Defra ministers”.
John Scanlon, CEO at SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said strong leadership at Defra is “essential” if the UK is to achieve the “necessary step change” in the country’s relationship with the natural environment.
George Eustice was appointed Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) yesterday (12 Feb), during Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.
The reshuffle saw former Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers removed from cabinet after just six months in the role.
Mr Eustice previously held the position of Minister of State at Defra since 2015 and was elected as the Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth in 2010.
Mr Eustice’s long and proven track record as a minister working with Defra and in energy and environment policy teams, sends a clear and welcome message that the Government is intent upon realising its environmental ambition
John Scanlon, CEO at SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “We welcome George Eustice as the new Secretary of State and look to him to continue the strong leadership displayed by recent Defra ministers, essential if we are to achieve the necessary step change in the country’s relationship with our natural environment as we work towards achieving a more circular economy.
“Mr Eustice’s long and proven track record as a minister working with Defra and in energy and environment policy teams, sends a clear and welcome message that the Government is intent upon realising its environmental ambition.
“Defra is at the forefront of the Government’s drive to help the UK become carbon-neutral by 2050 and we look forward to playing our part in that ambition, helping Government deliver on the final stages of its Resources and Waste Strategy.
“Core to this is its three-pronged approach of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes (EPR), Deposit Return schemes (DRS) and consistent collections.
“Working with other government departments, Defra can ensure the success of this plethora of new policies by establishing investable conditions in which the required system and infrastructure changes can come forward.”
A leader with expirence
Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), Jacob Hayler, commented onb what is now Defra’s third Secretary of State in as many years following the departure of Theresa Villiers.
He said: “It [Defra] is getting a leader with experience who has spent significant time with the department, and who should be able to hit the ground running. Defra is in need of consistent and strong leadership at a critical time for the natural environment; to guide the Environment Bill through Parliament; and to get the Government’s vital Resources & Waste Strategy delivered.
We would urge the new Secretary of State to place boosting recycling, and clamping down on organised, large scale, waste crime among his top priorities
This reshuffle at Defra arrives on a day when the scale of soaring public costs associated with major illegal waste-dumping incidents across England have been revealed. It also comes in a year that the UK has failed to meet its 2020 recycling targets, and is in danger of getting left behind our European neighbours without a rapid step-change in recycling performance.
“We would urge the new Secretary of State to place boosting recycling, and clamping down on organised, large scale, waste crime among his top priorities. Waste crime costs the UK economy millions, damages the legitimate waste management sector and undermines investment in sustainable new waste management infrastructure.”
Resources and waste focus
Responding to the news, CIWM has also emphasised the need for a continued focus on resources and waste and the major set of reforms currently being developed by Defra on packaging Extended Producer Responsibility, Deposit Return and household and business collection consistency.
CIWM’s head of policy knowledge and external affairs, Pat Jennings, said: “The Environment Bill provides the underpinning powers to drive through significant measures which will shape the future of the sector and we hope that George Eustice will ensure that the momentum in this area of his brief continues.
“Likewise, new measures to tackle waste crime are also underway and yesterday’s headlines on the increase in large scale fly-tipping highlight how vital this work is.”