Industry Looks To Defra For Support Over “Axed” Circular Economy Package

Representative bodies for the UK’s resource and waste management sector have united in calling for support from Defra, after leaked draft documents reportedly confirm that policy proposals to update waste legislation are to be dropped by the European Commission.

The Commission will formally adopt its 2015 work programme on Wednesday (16 December), but the draft version suggests that proposals to update the Waste Framework, Packaging and Packaging Waste and Landfill Directives are to be axed.

Former Environment Commissioner, Janez Potocnik, put together the circular economy package, which includes higher targets for recycling packaging waste and plans to increase recycling targets to 70 percent by 2030.

According to reports, the decision to abandon the package is due to “no foreseeable agreement” on the proposals.

David Palmer-Jones, president of FEAD, the European Federation representing the European waste management industry wrote to newly appointed Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, back in November (see CIWM Journal Online story) to reiterate the European waste and resource management industry’s support for the circular economy package, after rumours emerged that it might be subject to review.

“We further call upon Defra Secretary of State Liz Truss to use her good offices to communicate with President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans and urge upon them the importance of retaining the circular economy package for the long term benefit of Europe’s environment, economy and competitiveness”

Palmer-Jones stated: “Waste management plays a key role in achieving a resource efficient Europe by turning waste into a valuable resource and thus improving the resource resilience of the EU’s industrial base.”

Representative bodies for the UK’s resource and waste management sector have now combined with EEF the manufacturers’ organisation, the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) and Friends of the Earth (England Wales and Northern Ireland) (FoE) to call on Defra to act.

In a joint statement, members of the Trade Association Group (TAG), EEF, EIC and FoE said: “It is with dismay that we learn of developments this week in which we understand that the EU Circular Economy package is to be axed by the European Commission from its 2015 Work Programme.

“Many industry stakeholders including the undersigned have expressed their support for the proposals whilst fully recognising that a full and reasoned debate is necessary on aspects of the package.

“There is a very broad consensus amongst industry groups and associations, major companies, NGOs and municipalities that the Circular Economy package offers huge potential for green job creation, resource security, environmental protection and economic growth.

“This broad consensus is echoed by industry associations in the UK, and we call today upon the UK Government to issue a clear and unequivocal statement of its position in relation to the proposed withdrawal of the circular economy package.

“We further call upon Defra Secretary of State Liz Truss to use her good offices to communicate with President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans and urge upon them the importance of retaining the circular economy package for the long term benefit of Europe’s environment, economy and competitiveness.”

A letter to Defra Secretary of State Liz Truss expressing this concern and calling for her intervention has been sent today.

The letter in full:

Dear Secretary of State 

EU Circular Economy package

Secretary of State, Liz Truss
Secretary of State, Liz Truss

It is with dismay that we learn of developments this week in which we understand that the EU Circular Economy package is to be axed by the European Commission from its 2015 Work Programme. 

Many industry stakeholders including the undersigned have expressed their support for the proposals whilst fully recognising that a full and reasoned debate is necessary on aspects of the package. There is a very broad consensus in Europe amongst industry groups and associations, major companies, NGOs and municipalities that the Circular Economy package offers huge potential for green job creation, resource security, environmental protection and economic growth. 

This broad consensus is echoed by industry associations in the UK, and we respectfully ask you today to issue a clear and unequivocal statement of your position in relation to the proposed withdrawal of the Circular Economy package. We also ask you to show your support for the development of the circular economy in the UK and our own resources industry by communicating directly with President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans and urge upon them the importance of retaining the Circular Economy package for the long term benefit to Europe’s environment, economy and competitiveness.


 

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