Responding to the publication this week by Defra of the 2013 recycling statistics, CIWM says it is increasingly concerned about the future landscape.
“The only good news in yesterday’s announcement is the fact that the UK countries are now working with a common reporting framework; the more important and worrying message is that England’s recycling performance is in an increasingly precarious position,” says CIWM’s chief executive Steve Lee. “Not only have we effectively come to a standstill, but there is now the real risk that recycling rates will go backwards in the next 12 months.”
“CIWM and others have already highlighted the potential impact when the MRF regulations come into force next year and recycling figures are adjusted to discount rejected material for the first time. Yesterday, we also had a stark reminder from the National Audit Office about the impact of current and future funding cuts on local authorities and their ability to deliver essential services in the future.
“CIWM is currently funding a study to assess how local authorities are coping with austerity, but it does not take a genius to see that it is going to be increasingly hard for them to justify investing in recycling, particularly in the absence of clear policy direction and statutory targets. We have seen a lot of welcome emphasis recently on recycling quality; now the government has to put quantity back at the top of the priority list too.
“We recognise that there is no new money to be deployed, but Defra must reverse its withdrawal from this policy area and lead from the front to ensure that the critical role that this sector has to play in securing sustainable green growth is not seriously undermined