HC Deb 31 January 1995 vol 253 c581W
Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been with the plans for a waste strategy for England and Wales which he announced in July 1994 in response to the Royal Commission on environmental pollution report on incineration of waste.

Mr. Atkins

The Government are today issuing for public consultation a draft waste strategy for England and Wales. The strategy aims to use the principles of sustainable development to provide a coherent framework for waste management policy and practice throughout England and Wales. Copies of the document have been placed in the Library of the House.

However well managed, waste always has the potential to cause harm to the environment. We must give priority to reducing the amount we produce, and to adopting better waste management practices. Much can be done harnessing the power of the market to encourage more environmentally friendly waste management. The Chancellor's announcement in his Budget statement of the introduction of a landfill tax is one, very important, development in this direction.

Industry can do a great deal, and has a good incentive to do so because, as a number of demonstration projects have shown, better waste management frequently results in reduced operating costs. Good waste management practice is a competitiveness opportunity. Householders also have a major role to play by choosing not to buy over-packaged goods, by reusing goods and materials within the household, and by using the recycling facilities provided by their local councils.

We hope that this draft strategy will start a wide debate about future aims and direction of waste management policy, and the role of industry, the public sector, consumers and householders in achieving those objectives. We are allowing an extended consultation period until 28 April 1995 to enable proper consideration of the many significant issues which the strategy raises.