Defra has delayed publishing the consistency of collections consultation until after 6 May and local government elections.
It was hoped that the consultation would be released simultaneously alongside the second round of consultations surrounding extended producer responsibility for packaging and a deposit return scheme, which were released on 24 March.
These policy measures represent the three key mechanisms for reforming producer responsibility and the recycling landscape for packaging and other waste materials, so disparate consultation timelines could cause difficulties. The consultation cannot now be released until May because of purdah, a time of restricted government activity pre-election.
A Defra spokesperson has said “We are absolutely committed to overhauling the recycling sector and we will publish further proposals for consistent recycling collections as soon as possible following the local elections.”.
It has been reported that the delays were initially due to ‘last minute discussions over the costs of food and garden waste collections’ across various departments, because of public spending implications. The consultation, stemming from commitments made in the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy, proposes to introduce standardised collections of recyclable materials from both households and business by 2023.
Less than optimal
Head of innovation and policy, Robbie Staniforth, commented "We have been holding our breath and hoping to see this consultation before the purdah deadline and are therefore very disappointed that it has not been released. It is absolutely vital that this consultation on major changes to recycling in England overlaps with the EPR and DRS consultations that close on 4 June."
"In a best case scenario, industry will now have less than a month to review all three consultations together, which is less than optimal. We appreciate that inter-departmental discussions are vital to ensuring a coherent Government proposal. However, we are surprised that proposals didn't get over the line yesterday, given it has been more than two years since the Government released their Resources and Waste Strategy."
Yesterday Ecosurety released highlight summaries of the EPR and DRS consultations for producers, to encourage as many as possible to respond.
If you have any questions or concerns about the consultations, please contact our team.
As Policy advisor Louisa provides key support to our team, including preparing reports on environmental policy issues and maintaining awareness of new developments. As such she will often be found coordinating responses to policy consultations, advocating policy positions and providing internal guidance to current legislation.