Defra's Resources & Waste Strategy continues to dominate our monthly Policy Highlights round up, with the second Consistency of Collections consultation the latest to be launched. Also in May, there were announcements relating to green technology, the Environment Bill and more. Read on for key policy highlights from May:
Resources & Waste Strategy
The second consultation has been launched on Consistency of Collections. The consultation includes 26 proposals, and seeks to establish a core set of dry recyclable materials for recycling. The Strategy also includes the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), for which the Environmental Audit Committee has recently published a series of recommendations, including setting the deposit level at 20p and establishing an all-in scheme, including glass and cartons. In addition, HMRC has published guidance for businesses ahead of the introduction of the Plastic Packaging Tax in April 2022. This includes guidance on how the tax will operate, and on using more recycled plastic.
Regarding packaging producer responsibility, the Environment Agency (EA) has published its 2020 compliance monitoring and enforcement activity report. The report notes that all UK schemes met their obligations, and that the year ended with the highest number of accredited plastic reprocessors, and accredited plastic and paper exporters. The EA has also extended the review period for Regulatory Position Statements (RPS) until 30th April 2024. The RPS provides guidance on when an environmental permit may or may not be needed.
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
BEIS has announced £166 million of funding to develop green technologies, including carbon capture and hydrogen, and to decarbonise the UK's most polluting sectors. It is predicted to create 60,000 jobs across the UK. BEIS has also published a series of policy updates on carbon capture, covering topics including the use of carbon capture at energy from waste facilities.
Ofwat has set out draft plans for £850 million of green investment projects, put forward and funded by several water companies. These include trialling the creation of two new bathing rivers. In addition, the EA has undertaken research on a systems-based approach to water management, which is hoped to further understanding of how different parts of the water system interact, which will help to develop more holistic ways of managing the water environment.
Other Government News
The Environment Bill returned to Parliament in May for its final stages in the House of Commons, before it passed through to the House of Lords. The government has added new amendments to the bill, including setting a legally binding species target by 2030, before the Bill gains Royal Assent by the autumn. The government has also announced its Peat Action Plan for England, which includes a new grant scheme for restoring peatlands, and a commitment to end household peat use.
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Following on from the EPR and DRS consultations, Defra (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) have published their latest consultation, on consistency of collections.
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