Creagh made the announcement at day two of this year’s RWM exhibition as she addressed delegates in the Keynote Theatre. The session gave an overview of future UK environmental policy and strategy, picking up on recent inquiries and reports from the EAC and government responses.
In her address, Creagh revealed the Resources & Waste Strategy will be published in late November this year, according to Resources minister Therese Coffey, following a push-back of this year’s Autumn budget by Chancellor Philip Hammond due to Brexit talks.
She said the Strategy would encompass five pillars:
- Achieving zero “avoidable” waste by 2050
- Phasing out “avoidable” plastic waste
- New targets for waste and recycling
- Stopping food waste to landfill by 2030
- Reforming the PRN system.
Creagh also said Environment Secretary Michael Gove had confirmed that local authority recycling targets post-Brexit would be in line with that of the current recycling targets set out in the EU’s Circular Economy Package – 60% of local authority collected waste by 2030.
When asked by a delegate whether she thought mandatory separate food waste collections was on the cards, Creagh said her “hunch” is that government will not put something like this in place.
On the PRN system, Creagh gave an overview of the recent findings by the National Audit Office, which investigated how fit for purpose the current PRN system is – it found the PRN system has evolved into a comfortable way for government to face targets without facing underlying recycling issues, Creagh said.
On PRN generally, she said she wants the upcoming Strategy to shift the cost of compliance from tax-payers and onto producers, to create secondary markets and crack down on “free riders” and waste criminals.
On non-compliance, Creagh said that, on speaking to the Environment Agency (EA), it had informed her it hadn’t been able to carry out planned compliance visits due to this Summer’s heat wave, and that the EA were overall carrying out fewer compliance visits due to resource constraints.
During the address, Creagh also touched on plastic waste, the possible implementation of a “latte levy”, deposit refund schemes (with a system targeted to be in place by 2020) and the fact that the general public has started the journey in “waking up” to the issues around resources. She said, “the genie is out of the bottle”.
“Tackling waste is a noble endeavour,” she stated.