An inquiry is being launched into waste management in England and the impact of Defra’s decision to take a step back on activities in the sector, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) select committee has announced.
The EFRA select committee is seeking written evidence on recycling targets, landfill, energy recovery, anaerobic digestion and thermal treatment during the inquiry, which it says will “examine the existing approaches to the recycling and treatment of municipal waste in England”.
It follows an announcement by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last year that it would be reducing its waste activities where businesses are “better placed to act and there is no clear market failure”.
As such, the department will not take forward new policy work in the area and the EFRA inquiry will examine the impact of this.
Meanwhile, calls have come from both a House of Lords select committee as well as a group of Conservative party MPs for a responsibility for waste to be given to a minister in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) rather than Defra.
The EFRA committee is inviting written evidence on the following issues:
– The ability of existing recycling policy measures to ensure England reaches the EU target of recycling 50% of household waste by 2020;
– Whether England’s national recycling targets should be higher than those stipulated by the EU; and the pros and cons of compulsory household waste recycling;
– The role of businesses and households in municipal waste recycling and recovery;
– Whether England has the right balance of waste treatment technologies between anaerobic digestion, incineration with energy recovery and gasification to produce fuel/heat/power;
– The extent to which increasing the capacity of thermal treatment plants could impact England’s municipal waste recycling rates;
– Whether anaerobic digestion (AD) is the best option available to deal with food and other biowaste;
– Whether government’s Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan has substantially increased the use of AD; and
– The feasibility of the introduction of a ban on landfill and/or incineration in England.
The deadline for submissions of written evidence to the inquiry, which should be made via the EFRA website, is Thursday May 8 2014.