With everything that is happening with the rise on Covid-19 cases it may sound odd to think that in policy terms at least, we are in the calm before the storm. And while Covid-19 did impact quite significantly on the consistency, DRS and EPR consultations in 2020 there is no indication that these consultations will be delayed any further than they already have been.
2021 is shaping up to be a big year for waste policy with the Environment Bill due to be passed and the release of the three consultations. There is also likely to be further progress with waste policy in the Devolved Nations as well. That means that things have the potential to get even busier than they currently are, something I know a lot of you will think is impossible.
2020 was a long year in so many respects and there is no sign of any change soon. Every week is now seeing Christmas-like tonnage levels and sickness absence is starting to hit levels that could impact on services. The lessons learnt in March and April least year are being put to good use once again. Local authorities have been at the forefront of maintaining services throughout all of this and will continue to do so for a while yet.
Consultations and workshops
With the vaccination programme now underway there is hope that the second part of the year could see freedoms return and a much greater ability to get out and about again. This will come too late for the consultations and it means we will not be able to hold face to face workshops like we did in 2019. Which is a shame as we know how much those who attended got from them, and how much they helped us shape the LARAC consultation responses.
We are planning our process for responding to the consultations at the moment and it is likely that we hold virtual workshops this time round instead of face-to-face ones. We will also start planning the UK LARAC Conference soon as well, in the hope that by October we will be able to gather in Birmingham, even if it is with mitigation of some sort. By that point I am sure most of us will be ready for a couple of days away from the office and the chance to network again. That said we are also looking at other options as well, as with most things at the moment it is a case of covering all bases until situations become clearer.
Whatever the situation LARAC intends to provide the best services it can. We intend to again give you timely and comprehensive information all the way through the consultation process and send you our draft responses ahead of the closing date, for you to use if you wish.
In the meantime, well done for getting this far, hopefully we will all start to see some light at the end of the tunnel in the not too distant future.