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Waste Management

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action her Department has taken since 2000 in its role as the sponsoring Department of the waste management industry. [122509]

As sponsoring Department, DTI has had regular liaison with representatives of the waste management industry including the Environmental Services Association (ESA) and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM). In particular, DTI has played an active role in the development of good practice initiatives by the National Resource and Waste Forum (NRWF)—a cross-sectoral forum led by the waste management industry, which was instigated by DTI following a study of industry competitiveness.The Department takes careful account of the views of the waste management industry in consideration of waste policy. This enables us to bring a waste industry perspective to discussions with other Government bodies such as Defra, the Environment Agency and HM Treasury.The Joint Environmental Markets Unit (JEMU)—which is jointly staffed by DTI and Defra—continues to promote the UK's waste management industry in international markets. An extensive programme of activities, including seminars and outward and inward trade missions, has benefited around 20 to 30 waste management companies over the past couple of years, and is beginning to achieve a far greater appreciation in the industry of global trade and investment opportunities.During 2002, an industry-Government Innovation and Growth Team (IGT) for the Environmental Goods and Services Sector (IGT-EGS) was set up to identify actions to help the UK environmental sector take advantage of changes in UK and overseas markets over the next 15 years. As a result, JEMU will expand its role, taking forward those actions that are of common interest across waste, water, energy and other sub-sectors and are not already being dealt with effectively elsewhere. This will include a particular focus on the innovation-related aspects of the IGT work.To this end, DTI and Defra have established an Environmental Innovations Advisory Group which will meet for the first time on 14 July 2003. The Group will bring together companies from different levels in three supply chains—waste recycling, energy efficient technology and water management—as well as people involved in supporting the innovation and commercialisation process. This theme of innovation in resource efficiency is consistent with policy goals, while the findings would be transferable to other areas of innovation in environmental technologies.The Department is also represented on the Defra-led Hazardous Waste Forum, and is currently considering options for a possible industry forum on waste, in line with a recommendation in the Strategy Unit report, "Waste Not Want Not".