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England

Government Review of Waste Policy in England 2011

Although the Waste Framework Directive is implemented in England through the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, currently England’s waste strategy is actually based around the Government Review of Waste Policy in England 2011.

The current regulations and strategy is heavily driven by use of the Landfill Tax escalator and weight based targets for Local Authorities, and the Government stated it will only intervene where necessary or where there are clear market failures. Recycling targets are currently as per the Waste Framework Directive requirements (22.5% for plastics).

This policy is also where Defra stated it is not going to make changes to the current packaging producer responsibility legislation. The policy stating that the Government wanted to consult on increased recycling targets on packaging producers from 2013 to 2017, and this happened after the 2012 budget. As has been well documented since there has been a particular focus on plastics packaging, with specific objectives to:

● Increase plastics packaging that can be recycled (which is interpreted as being “easy to sort echanically”)
● Increase recycling participation rates for both householders and SMEs (C&I collections)
● Develop sorting and reprocessing capacity for pots, tubs and trays
The objectives look an informed and useful approach to meeting the new targets, but action on these has been slow to be realised, and more action and investment is needed.

Waste Management Plan for England (2013)

Building on the Review of Waste Policy Review in 2011, a Waste Management Plan for England opened for consultation on 15th July 2013 and closed on 9th September 2013. There were a total of 80 respondents.

The purpose of the consultation was to seek views on whether the Plan, when combined with the updated waste planning policy, fulfils the obligations of Article 28 of the revised Waste Framework Directive. 

The summary of responses can be found here.

The content of the Plan is driven by the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive and is a compilation of existing waste management information and policies, all centred round the broad aim to ensure that a path is set “towards a zero waste economy”. It also speaks of putting in place measures to promote “high quality recycling”.

It is effectively responding to the conclusions of the Government Review of Waste Policy in 2011 and to further developments since it was published. In short, it basically gives 2 policy options for England. The first is not to produce and adopt an English waste plan. This would never be an option as it would leave the UK open to infraction proceedings (the legal process by which the European Commission takes a Member State to the European Court of Justice) and to fines potentially being imposed. The second option, is to introduce a waste management plan for England.

It is also supplemented by an Environmental Report produced as part of a Strategic Environmental Assessment that sets out the likely significant effects on the environment from the introduction of the Waste Management Plan for England. This is the responsibility of Defra.

Defra, however, are not responsible for the location of waste facilities, which is the responsibility of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Therefore the Waste Management Plan for England is also supported by the updated National Waste Planning Policy for England, Planning for Sustainable Waste Management, which sets out considerations relating to the location of waste infrastructure. This policy was under consultation until 23th September 2013.

Overall, there are no new waste management policies in the Waste Management Plan for England (2013), as its purpose is to seek views on whether it and the updated DCLG Planning for Sustainable Waste Management will fulfil the obligations of the Waste Framework Directive for England.

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