Defra stepped back: So England risks to miss recycling targets, warn UK MPs

House of Parliament (Foto: ©Michael Löffler /

London, UK — The Government must act to increase recycling rates across England by 2020, say UK Members of Parliament in a report of an inquiry triggered by Defra’s decision to step back from areas of waste management. MPs also call on Government to ensure that only genuinely residual waste is sent to energy-from-waste plants and to do more to encourage the use of heat outputs from such facilities to improve the overall energy efficiency of this waste management method.

Launching a report on Waste management in England, the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Miss Anne McIntosh said: „Defra ‘stepped back’ from waste management at a time when we need both a more ambitious approach to waste management and stronger Government leadership to drive up static recycling rates in England and make better use of energy recovery options such as local heating for homes. Ministers must now show that waste policy remains an important priority.“

And he added: “Millions of tonnes of waste are thrown away every year, which is bad for the economy and the environment.” The Committee  recognises the benefits of valuing waste as a resource and calls for sustainable waste and resource management to play a key role in achieving Defra’s Coalition priority to improve the environment.

The Committee urges Defra to achieve the highest possible recycling rates. MPs argue that local authorities should remain responsible for resolving specific challenges and barriers faced at a local level, but call on Defra to promote best practice at a national level.

„On a household level there is too much confusion about what can or can’t be recycled – and very little confidence in the process” explains Miss McIntosh. “Communication must improve and be tailored to local circumstances, but Defra should provide support at a national level – particularly in relation to common issues and problems.“

The report on „Waste management in England“ can be visited under

Source: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee