Waste Reform: Lack of clarity makes it hard to prepare for change, says NAO

Waste Reform: Lack of clarity makes it hard to prepare, says NAO

The latest National Audit Office report warns that businesses and local authorities may not be ready in time for the proposed changes to waste management services.

As well as urging Defra to address weaknesses in current waste reforms, the report entitled The government’s resources and waste reforms for England says Defra needs to develop a 'coherent approach' to securing its ambitions across the waste management sector, rather than relying primarily on a project-by-project perspective.

In December 2018 the government published Our Waste, Our Resources: A strategy for England, which sought to cut costs and environmental damage by establishing a circular economy where products are used again or for longer. More than four years later, effective delivery plans that set out how government will achieve this do not yet exist.

The report concludes: "Defra took too long to put in place essential elements of good programme management, and some elements are still lacking. A lack of clarity has made it hard for businesses and local authorities to prepare for the changes they will need to make."

Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, said:

“Reducing waste is critical to reducing emissions and achieving some of government’s wider environmental goals, but Defra does not have effective long term plans for how it will achieve its ambitions for reducing waste, and there has been delay to its implementation of reforms.

“Defra must now establish a clear and coherent plan for its work on waste and resources, addressing the weaknesses in the reforms already in progress. If Defra takes these steps, it will be in a much stronger position to achieve its ambitions.”

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