FCC CEO calls on new Defra minister to work with waste sector

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

Following Michael Gove's appointment as secretary of state for environment, food and rural Affairs, Paul Taylor, CEO of FCC Environment, said he looked forward to working with the new Defra minister to “ensure all areas of Whitehall understand and value the importance of the UK’s waste and resources sector”.

The CEO added: “As many within our sector will know, for a long time now UK waste policy has been largely ignored – in no small part because it is one of a number of policy areas which the UK has ceded almost all control of to the EU. This has meant that there have been limited opportunities for the UK to decide the direction of its own domestic waste policy. The sector’s ability to contribute to the UK’s growth and productivity has also been limited, with other sectors edging ahead in the race to increase competitiveness and resource productivity.

With the new government beginning to take shape, and as the UK moves towards an exit from the EU, Taylor urged the waste sector “to come together and call for a step change in how the UK’s waste and resources sector is viewed in this country”.

He added: “Historically, Defra has been seen as one of the weakest departments in government, but the reality is that it has a major role to play in both the negotiations and in preparing for life after Brexit. Although the road ahead is still very unclear, what we do know is that we now have an opportunity to have a frank conversation about the value in waste, and how it can help to boost the country’s competiveness. We look forward to tackling these challenges and to meeting with Mr Gove at the earliest opportunity.”

Gove's appointment has prompted surprise as his environmental ratings are not high. The newly-appointed minister is reported to have twice voted twice to sell off all 635,000 acres of England’s forest and woodlands preserved on behalf of the public by the Forestry Commission and, according to the Independent, is said to have voted 10 times against climate change measures.

Following the announcement of Gove’s appointment, Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and elected the UK’s first Green member of parliament in 2010, tweeted: “Beggars belief. One look at Gove’s voting record shows him unfit for this job.”

Resources minister, Therese Coffey, remains at Defra as resources minister.

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