Food sector calls on delay for waste strategy consultations

Environmental Secretary Michael Gove has been asked to delay consultations around the Waste and Resource Strategy by 32 trade bodies representing the UK’s food and farming industry.

The response came from a letter submitted to Mr Gove on 8th February; claiming that with a potential Exit from the EU without a deal, has resulted in a limited capacity to respond to consultations on new policy.

The letter said: “Businesses throughout the UK food chain – and their trade associations – are now totally focused on working to mitigate the catastrophic impact of a no-deal Brexit. Large amounts of time, money, people and effort are being diverted to that end.

“At this moment of potential crisis for our industry, it cannot be ‘business as usual’ within government. Neither we nor our members have the physical resources nor organisational bandwidth to engage with and properly respond to non-Brexit related policy consultations or initiatives at this time. Government has recruited many extra staff; we cannot.

“We very strongly urge you therefore to require of your Cabinet colleagues that a range of current and planned consultations that will impact food and drink, some of which are expected shortly, are firmly and clearly placed on “pause” until this uncertainty is over.”

The consultation aims to highlight key topics within the Strategy document including the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks bottles as well as an overhaul of the packaging producer responsibility, which will see businesses and manufacturers foot the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste.

As outlined in the government’s Strategy, producers will be required to take on more responsibility regarding items that are considered to be more difficult and costly to recycle such as batteries, cars and electrical equipment.

Any legal changes needed to take place on specific policy areas within the Strategy are likely to be laid within the government’s Environmental Bill, which is in its early stages. This means that the timings of the consultations are crucial.


Update 18/02/2019:

Despite the concerns outlined above the consultations have now been published and will be open until 12th/13th May. For more information you can view our latest article including links to the consultation pages here.

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