CIWM issues resources policy blueprint

Ahead of this summer’s general election, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has reviewed Defra’s ‘Resources and Waste Strategy for England’ to determine its ongoing relevance, and to identify any policy gaps where it fails to support the UK’s future requirements.

The output of this process, which was undertaken by a working group of CIWM members, is a policy blueprint in the form of ten ‘policy asks’. These have been designed to accelerate the transition to a more resource resilient and circular economy capable of meeting future material demands and supporting the battle against climate change. 

Commenting on the publication, CIWM’s Director of Innovation and Technical Services, Lee Marshall, said: “A new Government presents a great opportunity to make the UK more resource resilient. These policy proposals are a clear demonstration of CIWM’s commitment to leading the way and helping to deliver a major step change in our journey to a world beyond waste.  

Whilst CIWM welcomed The Resources and Waste Strategy when it was published in 2018, progress on implementing it has been undeniably slow. The passing of time, together with an increased focus on climate change and the circular economy, means the context in which the waste and resources sector operates is now very different. As a result, a revised set of policies is urgently needed. 

In the short term, key elements from The Resources and Waste Strategy, such as extended producer responsibility, consistent collections and digital waste tracking, need to be prioritised. We must then shift our attention to the start of the pipe, prioritising resource efficient design and embedding true producer responsibility in order to maximise the value of the materials we consume. As part of this process, we must also address the urgent need for green skills and create a cross-department task force to supercharge progress on resource resilience across Whitehall.” 

CIWM’s recommendations are split into those which should be prioritised in the first two years of the new government, and those which can be developed in the following three to five years of the term. 

Years One and Two
Policy 1: Implement the existing Resources & Waste Strategy policies  
Policy 2: Create a cross-government resource resilience task force
Policy 3: Launch a Green Skills Fund 
Policy 4: Introduce targeted Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for several key product types
Policy 5: Introduce targets across the top half of the waste hierarchy (prevention, reuse, repair)

Years Three to Five
Policy 6: Develop a Circular Economy Plan with a supporting Resource Resilience Strategy
Policy 7: Price raw materials so that prices include negative environmental externalities
Policy 8: Introduce targeted economic instruments
Policy 9: Strengthen eco-design and waste prevention
Policy 10: Ensure adequate funding for Environment Agency and other regulators 

For full details of the individual policy proposals, please visit www.ciwm.co.uk/policyasks.

Post election, CIWM will engage with ministers to review the policy asks and publish its full review report. The blueprint will also form the core of CIWM’s policy work going forward. This will include the production of more detailed proposals for policy makers where appropriate.

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