Five-year plans published

10th March 2016


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  • Public sector ,
  • Central government ,
  • Waste ,
  • Adaptation

Author

Victoria Williams

A lack of reference to waste and recycling in Defra's five-year plan will damage the sector's ambitions to achieve higher recycling targets and generate new jobs, industry experts have warned.

The environment department’s plan contains only one reference to waste, in a pledge to develop new approaches to tackle waste crime and litter. The word ‘recycling’ does not appear at all. Jacob Hayler, executive director of trade body the Environmental Services Association (ESA), said. ‘The departmental plan certainly sends out a negative message about the next five years for our sector,’ he said.

He also criticised the continued absence of a waste strategy for England, which he warned was harming investment and the country’s ability to increase recycling rates. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all have a waste strategy.

One of Defra’s priorities for 2016 is to develop its 25-year plan for the environment. The department will publish the scope of this plan in the spring, and aims to complete it by the end of the year. It will contain a series of indicators to record progress, some of which Defra is already measuring, including air quality, enhancement of freshwater and the status of protected areas. Another focus is to reduce regulatory burdens to business. Defra said it would publish a progress report in the summer and will measure progress by using net annual savings to business, as well as the number of regulations improved or abolished.

Decc has also published its plan to 2020. Its priorities include: energy security and resilience; decarbonisation; and the UK’s energy legacy. However, the chancellor has cut its budget by 22% over the next few years. To achieve this, the document outlines cost saving measures, including sharing services with other departments and reducing the amount spent on corporate functions. It also expects to make changes to how the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority operates, including delaying ‘non-safety critical projects’.

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