Peers call for minister to oversee multi-billion pound waste resources

A minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills should take a leading role in overseeing waste policies and be a “waste champion”, according to a report by the House Of Lords Science and Technology Committee.

In the report entitled ‘Waste or resource? Stimulating a bioeconomy’, peers suggested that government should create a waste champion to take on the job of developing a “brass from muck” bio-economy – one that could create a multi-billion pound economy as well as create a number of green jobs.

It also calls on government to treat waste as a resource and “grasp the nettle and change the way we view waste”.

The Lords Committee slammed government over its waste policy. It said: “There is a lack of a clear lead within government, with responsibilities spread across several departments, and inadequate co-ordination and cohesion.

“We therefore recommend that a minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is given responsibility for the development of a waste-based, high-value bio-economy. The minister should be a champion for waste as a resource and should co-ordinate activities across government.

“He or she should ensure that a long-term plan, with at least a 15-year horizon, is produced in order to support the development of a high value waste-based bio-economy.”

It also heard evidence that access to waste resources must be improved. It argued that waste should be collected and treated in a way “that maximises its value as a resource”.

The Lords Committee’s call for a waste champion echoes industry heavyweight Peter Jones’ call to create a super WRAP body that will bring all the main environmental departments together to help generate value from waste and bring leadership on driving investment in renewable energy.

The report also recommends the following:

– Government needs to look again at its incentives for certain sectors in this field and work to make sure the market is not distorted.
– Government needs to reduce the amounts of waste that are exported – exporting waste generates carbon dioxide from UK transport, removes a potential resource from this country and removes the potential for creating green jobs. It is estimated we could produce 150,000tonnes of bio-ethanol with the waste we exported in 2012.
– The UK needs to look to other countries, such as Brazil, the US and China, for examples of developing bio-economies.
– Government should create a more standardised system of waste collection across local authorities in order to maximise the potential of waste as a resource.


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