Government leadership or party politics – where does our waste agenda fit in?
Having read a recent article in which the CIWM urged the Government to ‘step up to the mark’, UNTHA UK managing director Chris Oldfield shares his views on the need for greater leadership from one central source…
“For some time I have commented on the need for the Government to work together so that, as a nation, we can achieve the level of progress necessary to meet EU targets.
What I fear however is that too often our ministerial leaders become caught up in party politics rather than a commitment to one key vision. The danger with this approach is that when another party comes into power or there is a cabinet shuffle, our approach to waste, recycling and resource efficiency shifts with it.
Of course we can benefit from fresh viewpoints and perspectives, but I fear that without a unified voice the Government will struggle to educate and communicate with communities as effectively as it needs to.
For us to make the level of progress that some of our European neighbours have achieved, we need a long term direction and infrastructure investment that will be upheld regardless of who is in power. This would require action rather than well-prepared words that simply paint an inspiring picture and the focus would need to move away from one-upmanship in terms of which MPs have done what and who could do a better job.
The CIWM appeared to echo this viewpoint in their response to Defra’s Waste Prevention Programme consultation. They feel that the Government needs to think about the full product life cycle not just waste. I agree with this, and also feel there should be more joined up thinking when it comes to the UK’s waste agenda and our energy agenda.
There are a number of people in the wider industry who can also adopt leadership responsibility. A few key figureheads spring to mind when I think of individuals who can share their knowledge and instil inspiration in others. However, this does not get away from the fact that local authorities need central support if they are to each progress in their own areas.
I suppose that for now, we must just watch this space…”