This is one of the seven key commitments in Less Waste: More Value', the government's consultation paper on the National Waste Strategy which he launched at the waste industry's centenary conference in Torbay.
The six other key commitments which steer the government's vision for the waste strategy are:
- increased public involvement in re-use and recycling of household waste, possibly charging for the waste for disposal
- a strong emphasis on waste minimisation
- a need to change the perception of the waste hierarchy
- more creative use of economic incentives, possibly for the landfill tax revenues to fund recycling
- increased public involvement in the decision making process
Speaking at the Institute of Waste Management (IWM) Centenary conference Michael Meacher said:
'Government ministers and officials cannot draw up the waste strategy in isolation. The consultation exercise will last through the summer. I hope it provokes a full debate on the options available to us; and the forthcoming report of the environment select committee Inquiry into Sustainable Waste Management will be an important element in that debate. We are looking for views from a wide range of people and organisations, and we want people to carefully consider the options open to us and the best way to take waste management into the 21st century. After the deadline for comments, on 25 September, we will carefully study all the views presented to us and start the task of drafting the new waste strategy.
'I intend to publish a draft of that strategy early in 1999. The new waste strategy should be a framework that sets out clear goals, yet allows for innovation to meet those goals. It will provide the blueprint for the future of sustainable waste management policies and practices in England and Wales.'
Less Waste: More Value' covers issues such as waste minimisation, recycling, composting, incineration and landfill and looks at the role of industry, commerce, householders, the voluntary sector, local and central government and the Environment Agency.
It is both part of the Sustainable Development theme, and a separate, statutory requirement.
The consultation period will run until 25 September. The responses will be used to develop a draft White Paper early next year on which there will be a further consultation. The government aims to issue the final White Paper before the end of 1999.
'Making Waste Work', published in 1995, set out the previous government's policy framework for the management of waste, identified ways in which waste could be managed in a more sustainable way and set a number of targets for achieving that aim. The 1995 Environment Act requires the secretary of state to set out a statutory national waste strategy. 'Less Waste : More Value' is the first step towards meeting this requirement.
'Less Waste: More Value' is available from DETR Free Literature, PO Box No 236, Wetherby, L23 7NB. Tel: 0870 1226 236 or fax: 0870 1226 237.
- Mr Meacher's full speech is available from LGCnet. Tel 0171 833 7324/5 and we will fax you a copy.