I always look back at my previous blog to see what has changed over the last month; what I was talking about then and what is relevant now. And so, unless you have been head-down in all things year-end, you will have noticed that two out of the three long-awaited consultations landed, coincidentally on the day my last blog was published in which I said we were still waiting! Then we wondered for a few weeks if the Consistency Consultation would be released too, but we now know that it will not appear until after the elections on 6 May, which is extremely disappointing given the importance of how the three policies will work together.
As I write this, we have already held a LARAC consultations webinar and one of the five workshops for our members and I have found myself repeatedly saying we need the Consistency Consultation to be able to formulate an opinion on some of the questions in EPR and DRS consultations. As a key stakeholder, LARAC has been involved in many working groups over the last year alongside DEFRA and the wider waste and resources industry, and we will continue to ask DEFRA for clarity around the release of this missing piece of the jigsaw.
The shortened timescale for responses has also meant we have had to reformulate our timetable for consultation with our members, although we are still packing the same amount of work into a shorter period. After the workshops this week there will be a survey sent to members and then we will do a final webinar and provide draft and final responses to you in May, ahead of the 4 June consultation deadline. We post all the briefings we send to you in the members’ area of our website. Ideally, if the Consistency Consultation is launched shortly after the elections, then I hope that the 4 June deadline may be extended to allow us some time to look at the three policies holistically.
Last week saw step two of the lockdown easing roadmap, and luckily some great weather to be able to enjoy the outside tea gardens, cafes and pubs that have reopened. I know at Pendle our trade waste collection services are really starting to pick up, although coinciding with year-end work has kept staff extremely busy. Lancashire’s HWRCs have started to ease some of their restrictions with allowing more than one waste type per visit, and no doubt seeing an increase in use from residents.
We are aware that DEFRA is carrying out a review of social distancing measures generally, and LARAC has been asked if we have any feedback on how social distancing affects us in waste. HWRCs are definitely an issue and perhaps a call to relax the 2m social distancing rule will help with the demand from residents to have more access to the sites. If you have any thoughts on this, please do let us know.