Energy from Waste industry reacts to the appointment of the new Environment Secretary

Ranil Jayawardena MP was appointed as the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on September 6.
Energy from Waste industry reacts to the appointment of the new Environment Secretary

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Previously he was Minister for International Trade from May 2020 to September 2022 and was elected as the Conservative MP for North East Hampshire in 2015. He succeeds George Eustice who was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 13 February 2020 to 6 September 2022.

In a tweet, the new Environment Secretary said it was a 'privilege' to be appointed.

In a statement to EfW Net, the CIWM welcomes the appointment of the new Environment Secretary saying: “CIWM welcomes Ranil Jayawardena as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. There is a need to regain momentum on policy changes such as DRS and Consistent Collections, and the Minsters’ first priority should be to release the Government’s response to the consultations that took place last year. Alongside packaging EPR, these changes will set the policy context for household and commercial collections for the next decade and beyond and must be progressed so we can see the Government delivering on its promise of embedding full producer responsibility.”

Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director, said, “CIWM has always had a close working relationship with Defra, and we look forward to building on that with these new appointments. The resources and waste sector are at the heart of the circular economy and we want to help Government move the UK towards a much more circular way of thinking. The Resources and Waste Strategy was a bold statement of intent, and we hope that Defra will now be focused on delivering on this plan in order to move the world beyond waste.

CIWM would also like to see progress on the review of the WEEE and batteries regulation that was promised, as well as discussions on the role the sector can play in easing the energy crisis that the country is currently facing. CIWM wants to support the department to work with others, such as the Infrastructure Committee, to explore options for heat networks and other areas that could help ease the energy squeeze.

We also want to explore the current policies around the definition of waste, building on the recommendations from the recently released Presidential Report from current CIWM President, Dr Anna Willetts. Changes in how materials are defined as waste will help embed the circular economy, making it easier to keep resources in economic use. Amongst a range of other issues, CIWM would like the ministers to engage in the process of decarbonizing the off-road plant the sector needs and moving away from red diesel towards other energy sources, such as hydrogen.”

Dr. Adam Reed, External Affairs Director at Suez has urged the new Secretary to focus on circular economy issues as a priority.

In a comment to EfW Net, Dr. Reed also expressed the following points as hugely important for the new Environment Secretary to consider and to tackle:

  • Given the investment over the last 4 years in shaping the proposals for EPR and consistent collections, it's important not to let the cost of living crisis derail these reforms, but DRS can be parked until we see how these impact our recycling rates and residual waste production.
  • Government will also need to address consumption head on, and the Waste Prevention Plan to date has been of limited value or impact, it is time to tackle disposable stuff and drive a more circular economy. We need a systemic approach where carbon taxation flows across packaging, products and services and not look at only taxing part of the system in EfW - only by factoring in carbon to the costs of products will we drive reuse and repair.
  • We need a clear policy agenda that provides us with the confidence to invest and build the infrastructure we need.

There are clear questions related to the role of waste hierarchy in the UK that Ranil Jayawardena will have to address.

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