Waste Policy: Regulation and Enforcement

You have to carefully read the 80-page document: “Government Review of Waste Policy in England 2011” to see the developing elements of future policy and the potential impact on businesses.

The Government is clearly working in the right direction with the primary priority of resource efficiency in recognition that the value lies in the resources themselves and not in the production of waste & together with a clearer communication strategy that will ensure that these messages allow consumers to make informed decisions rather than “knee-jerk” reactions to issues, such as fortnightly collections, promulgated by the tabloid press.

My interest was specifically taken by the section: “Regulation and Enforcement” (page 36), which contains measures that will allow businesses to fulfil their obligations more easily through the use of standards and accredited certification.

DEFRA and BIS have tasked the British Standards Institution together with others, including businesses and the Environment Agency to assess the current provision of standards in this area and produce a strategic roadmap to be agreed by Government.

This roadmap will show how businesses, large and small, can take greater responsibility for their performance and be certified or permitted effectively, according to the level of assurance needed to demonstrate compliance.

Additionally, DEFRA will be tasking the Environment Agency, working with businesses, the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) and other accreditation bodies to bring forward a strategy for businesses to earn greater levels of freedom from regulatory inspection.

From my career background having worked within the Environment Agency, UKAS, certification bodies and as an independent expert, I hope that the optimum balance between environmental protection and voluntary oversight can be developed to resolve the current, over regulation in the waste sector and the associated impact on its customers, whilst at the same time deliver real environmental improvements.

A copy of the Waste Review documents can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/review/

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