R&WUK To Close As Steve Lee Steps Down From DG Role

In light of Steve Lee’s immediate retirement from the post of Director General of Resources & Waste UK (R&WUK), its partner organisations – CIWM and ESA – have reviewed their arrangements for joint working and confirmed that R&WUK will cease to operate.

However, the two organisations have confirmed they they will continue to work together “on high level areas of policy, including future infrastructure needs and the government’s forthcoming waste and resource strategy”, but that this activity will “no longer be communicated through the R&WUK brand”.

The organisations added: “While R&WUK provided a useful initial framework to build a more collaborative approach, the partnership has since developed in a number of ways and it has been decided that it can best be taken forward through other avenues.

“Both organisations have a strong track record across the sector and will focus on championing the potential of the sector through established channels of influence as long term plans for resources and waste take shape across the UK.

“CIWM and ESA are also grateful for the work and support of Steve Lee for the last three years and wish him well on his retirement.”

On its for action in 2015, R&WUK set out its priorities in its manifesto, which included:

  • Supporting and improving wastes collection and recycling performance.
  • Improving the climate for investment in circular economy infrastructure to deliver sustainable growth and jobs.
  • Boosting domestic UK demand/markets for recycled materials.
  • Creating the right regulatory balance between hitting waste criminals hard and reducing burdens on legitimate businesses in the industry.
  • Delivering coherent resources and waste policy across Government departments and between the four UK Governments.
  • Engaging positively in policy development for resources and wastes at a European level.

One of its key pieces of work was the publication of a report prepared by Eunomia Research & Consulting examining the impacts of heightened instability in the commodity markets for secondary raw materials (SRMs); and its latest act was to write to the new Defra Secretary of State the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, re-appointed resources minister Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, and shadow Secretary of State for Environment Sue Hayman MP, to reinforce the environmental and economic contribution of the sector and highlight three priority areas where R&WUK believes further support from the government is needed.

“Firstly, we want UK governments to explore and consider the broader application of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes across the UK to create a more robust system for sharing the cost of responsible resource management,” says director general Steve Lee. “We believe EPR has a vital role to play in embedding the ‘polluter pays’ principle, driving improved product and service design, and delivering infrastructure and services to support resource productivity and security,” it wrote.

“Secondly, this sector has an important part to play in supporting UK industrial growth and resource efficiency and productivity through the supply of secondary raw material feedstocks and energy. As well as explicitly recognising this in the forthcoming Industrial Strategy, we are also calling on the Government to provide a stable and effective policy and incentives framework for the future. This is essential to catalysing the investment in new and different technologies and infrastructure that the UK will need to gain the maximum value from secondary resources.

“Finally, we acknowledge the support to date from all four UK governments on tackling waste crime and urge that this continues to be seen as a priority.  ESA’s latest research estimates the cost of waste crime to the UK economy at £600 million/year and growing and we hope to see higher standards and more rigorous checks for businesses and individuals coming into the sector included in the forthcoming Waste Crime and Persistent Poor Performance consultation.”


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