Government 25-year Environment Plan - a positive step

LARAC has welcomed the publication of the Government Environment Plan, “A Green Future” and the high level aims it sets out, but is keen to seek clarification on the thinking behind the “comprehensive and frequent waste and recycling collections” that the Government states it is committed to. LARAC is concerned that the plan appears to have a focus on plastics specifically which suggests a plan for the moment rather than the future. LARAC urges the Government to consider carefully the long-awaited Resources and Waste Strategy and ensure it acts on all waste streams. LARAC does applaud the focus on simplifying the number of plastics at the design stage, which will go a long way to helping local authorities and consumers provide and use efficient collection systems for these difficult materials.

Carole Taylor, Chair LARAC, said “the publication of the Environment Plan is a positive first step on filling the policy vacuum that we have had for too long in the waste sector. With the promise of a new Resource and Waste Strategy this year it is vital we get the details right and this means a root and branch reform of Producer Responsibility thinking in the UK and the channelling of much needed funds to councils to support household recycling. Without more funding, councils will struggle to deliver any new aspirations that the Government have.”

LARAC is pleased that the Government have committed to reform Producer Responsibility legislation and not just the PRN system. LARAC notes that the plan wants to see the shift to more consistent collections being accelerated but LARAC states that funding is needed for the many instances where the business case for change does not stack up.

LARAC welcomes the commitment to support local authorities in the introduction of more food waste collections, but as with other actions in the plan LARAC calls for the right levels of funding to enable these changes to happen. LARAC believes that without a fundamental change in the funding of household collection services these kinds of changes will be very difficult to achieve.

LARAC supports the indication of new powers for local authorities to tackle littering and believes that further powers regarding waste collections could be of benefit to support higher recycling rates.