The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has consulted on a revised Waste Management Plan for England ("the Plan"). The consultation, which ended on 20 October, forms part of the requirements stipulated in the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 ("the Waste Regulations") to revise the Plan every six years (and will replace the previous Waste Management Plan from 2013).
The Plan reviews the current waste management situation in England. It considers the quantity of waste that there is in England and how it should be managed. The Plan reflects the policies included in the Government's Resources and Waste Strategy, published in 2018, and will sit alongside the Waste Prevention Programme for England, which sets out the roles and actions for government and others to reduce waste arising and increase resource efficiency.
The consultation sought views on whether the Plan fulfils the obligations of the Waste Regulations and assesses England's current waste management system, including the need for new waste collection schemes, new infrastructure and new anti-litter measures.
All UK waste management policies should take into account the objectives of the Waste Regulations, as follows:
- To protect the environment and human health by preventing or reducing the generation of waste;
- Limiting the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste; and
- Reducing the overall effects of resource use and improving the efficiency of such use.
The Plan recognises that government cannot deliver the objectives of the Waste Regulations alone. Understandably, it requires action by businesses, consumers, householders and local authorities. The policies summarised in the Plan provide a framework for action by such groups. Waste planning authorities should have regard to this Plan - alongside the National Planning Policy on Waste and other planning policy contained in the National Planning Policy Framework, in drawing up, or revising, their existing waste local plans.
The Plan does not implement any new policies, but instead reflects /endorses policies laid out in the Resource and Waste Strategy 2018 (the RWS). It focuses on the application of the 'waste hierarchy' as a means to working towards a zero waste economy. This ranks options for waste management, with priority going to preventing the creation of waste in the first place, followed by preparing waste for re-use, then recycling, and then recovery. Disposal – in landfill for example – is regarded as the worst option and sits at the very bottom of the hierarchy.
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