The UK’s Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has awarded the waste industry a grade of C+ in its latest State of the Nation Infrastructure report – an improvement over the C grade awarded in 2010.
However, report cautioned that while the devolved nations have outlined clear waste policies, England lacks direction, and investment has suffered.
ICE explained that the State of the Nation reports have been published each year since 2000, with the aim of stimulating debate and highlighting the actions we it believes are needed to improve the UK’s infrastructure networks and associated services.
The report recommended that a move from waste, to resource management, and a circular economy should be at the centre of government policy across the UK
Further, an Office for Resource Management should be established in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), to provide strategic leadership over resource management policy across government in England
The authors also recommended that central government and the devolved administrations must now focus on creating a policy, regulatory, and commercial environment that encourages private investment in waste management infrastructure serving all of the UK’s waste streams.
According to the report, at the centre of this should be improved waste data in the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector.
This was said to not only affects investment in the waste sector but also has negative effects on other sectors, for example by creating uncertainty for waste to energy and associated combined heat and power operators.
“The establishment of a circular economy will require leadership from policymakers, embedding the idea across government, for example through broadening the ban on sending materials to either landfill or Energy from Waste and developing minimum reuse/recycling targets similar to under End of Life Vehicles regulations,” said the report.