Government undecided on "strategic waste authority"

Environment Minister Elliot Morley is "open to persuasion" about the idea of a new strategic waste authority, junior Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw told MPs during a House of Commons debate on 10 February.

A review to assess the merits of focusing all waste policy in one Department was one of the recommendations included in the waste review issued by the Cabinet Office's Strategy Unit in November 2002. A Cabinet Office review of the issue was promised by the end of 2003.

In the last six months another Cabinet Office body, the Better Regulation Task Force, has failed to back the idea. But, together with the House of Lords European Union Committee, it suggested the creation of an inter-departmental waste unit to provide "a single voice on waste policy" (ENDS Report 347, pp 36-37 ).

Mr Bradshaw revealed that the Cabinet Office only started its review in December and is due to conclude in the spring. Its remit appears to have changed into consideration of the "scope for improving the coordination of inter-departmental responsibilities for waste policy."

He added that some of the points made by Lord Haskins' rural delivery review "about the value of separating policy from delivery and having a single strategic body consider a particular policy had considerable weight."

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