DEFRA consultation on consistent waste collections delayed again

DEFRA has confirmed that its second consultation on consistent waste collections has been delayed until after the local government elections, which will take place on 6 May.

The department said it remained “absolutely committed” to the changes proposed but that the document will not be published until after the elections due to the current purdah period which means government announcements generally cannot be made.

The news will come as a blow to the waste sector which last month expressed concerns when the consultation failed to materialise alongside two other highly anticipated consultations aimed at ramping up producer responsibility and boosting recycling.

The consultations currently out for consultation are on the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging. They will run until 4 June in a ten-and-a-half week consultation period, which is shorter than the usual 12 weeks.

A consultation on the consistent recycling collections for all households and businesses in England was expected at the same time, but DEFRA then said it would be “going out for consultation shortly”.

At the time, Jacob Hayler, the executive director of waste trade body the Environmental Services Association (ESA), said: “The complex policy interventions set out in these consultations must be considered holistically rather than in isolation.” 

He said the decision to consult separately at a later date on collection consistency therefore raised “some immediate questions about whether stakeholders will be able to properly assess how the proposed measures will work together in a systematic way”.