Focusing on the future

As we head towards the close of the year, the UK’s future remains uncertain. At the time of writing, it seems inevitable that another lockdown is looming and that we might be heading towards a No-Deal Brexit. Despite these challenges, as a sector we must look ahead and focus our attention on the upcoming legislative changes, not lose sight of the climate emergency that overhangs us all, irrespective of pandemics and political persuasions. Our Net Zero agenda remains critical at every level: globally, nationally, regionally and locally.

It is almost certain that there will be further operational challenges presented by COVID-19 but, as a sector and working closely with our local authority partners, we have shown that we can overcome these and continue to deliver for the communities that we serve.

The publication of the Resources and Waste Strategy in 2018 seemed to be a landmark moment for the sector, but with the 2019 General Election, followed by prolonged withdrawal negotiations with the European Union and now the untold impact of COVID-19, Government has seen unprecedented challenges and distractions, and the Environment Bill has faced severe disruption. With the Bill now continuing to wend its way through due Parliamentary process, we currently await a revised date for the Public Bill Committee to report. The next round of consultations – delayed from Autumn and now widely tipped for ‘early’ 2021 – will of course give us other opportunities to inform the detail of the Bill further. Depending on the wider political agenda and the seemingly unrelenting issues touched on above, we could see the Bill move forward decisively before Summer Recess in 2021. As an industry, we must be preparing ourselves for these timescales – despite constant changes and challenges.

 

It’s important that as a sector we’re engaging with DEFRA - Julie Fourcade, FCC

We must keep a laser-sharp focus on other important pieces of policy. The National Infrastructure Strategy has taken more than two-years to come forward since the National Infrastructure Assessment was first published back in 2018. This will surely play a vital role in supporting our infrastructure-loving PM and his Build, Build, Build and levelling up agenda – however, with most expecting it to be issued alongside the Autumn Budget, it is now unclear as to when this will now be issued. A key pillar of the Strategy will undoubtedly look at the UK’s waste management, and how, as a nation, we cut down on residual waste and boost our recycling – as well as our food waste.

It’s important that as a sector we’re engaging with DEFRA and the National Infrastructure Commission to not only ensure our views are heard, but so we’re resolute in our preparations to meet new targets, collect different types of waste and share our understanding of how we can continue turning that waste into a valuable resource that can play a vital part in the regeneration of our UK economy, post-Brexit and in our new COVID-19 world.

Preparing for these new pieces of legislation with the vast backdrops of EU withdrawal and a pandemic will of course be difficult. But with the right partners, working collaboratively, I’m confident that we can come together, meet targets, and importantly play our role in achieving Net Zero to protect our planet for future generations to come. Focusing on our future: our world depends on it.

FCC Environment

 

Opinions expressed in this blog reflect those of the blogger not those of LARAC

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