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Environment Agency welcomes Government debate on waste

The Environment Agency today (14 February 2006) welcomed the Government's Waste Strategy Review and called for a national debate on how we are going to deal with waste in the 21st Century.

Martin Brocklehurst, Head of Waste Strategy at the Environment Agency said:

“We are pleased to see that the Government has published a fundamental review looking at both waste produced by households and business.

We have tough targets to meet – with £10 billion of investment predicted just to meet the landfill diversion targets for household rubbish, we clearly need to find better ways of reducing the amount we generate.

As a society we have also been producing more waste – it has been growing by 3% year on year since 1997. This strategy makes clear that as a nation we must change our behaviour. We need to see an end to our throw away society and produce less waste in the first place. We also need to take on the challenge of recovering and recycling our waste into resources which will benefit us all.”

The Environment Agency is highlighting key areas in the Waste Strategy which will help manage waste in the future including the need to:

Streamline waste legislation; clearer, simpler regulations help industry and regulators alike whilst still ensuring protection of the environment.
Establish and fund voluntary producer responsibility schemes for businesses and industry, such as HAZRED. It has been estimated that reducing the amount of waste produced could save businesses and industry over £3bn a year.
Establish clear reduction targets for waste currently still sent to landfills; Establish and fund stronger partnerships between business and regulators to tackle waste illegal crime; and
Set up a strong implementation plan to deliver targets outlined in the consultation paper.

The Waste Strategy Review consultation runs for 12 weeks and applies to England only – Wales & Scotland have their own strategies. Further information at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/strategy/strategy_legislation.htm

HAZRED is a three-year European project co-financed by the EU LIFE Environment Programme, the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency, the Welsh Assembly Government, Envirowise, the Groundwork Foundation, Safety-Kleen and the Waste Recycling Group. The project, based in the UK and led by the Environment Agency, aims to assist in preventing and reducing hazardous wastes produced by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), helping them to reduce costs in the process. The total value of the project is €1,496,282.

The HAZRED project aims to demonstrate the benefits of setting waste reduction targets and developing waste reduction plans in partnership with key industry sectors, particularly those with a high proportion of small businesses. SMEs will be targeted as they tend to have the least access to environmental guidance and a lack of environmental awareness.

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