January 20th, 2015

The outsource of it all

Manchester City Hall

by Phillip Ward


I once talked a Government Minister out of legislating for charging for domestic refuse disposal. It was 26 years ago and, in my defence, I knew nothing of waste policy, nor was recycling of much interest to most people at that time. My objections were not therefore based on waste considerations but on the fact that the Minister concerned wanted to add the provisions to the Parliamentary Bill I was managing. Since that was dealing with the introduction of the Poll Tax, my advice was that the Bill was controversial enough without opening up a whole new front. I do sometimes wonder whether, with the advantage of hindsight, I should have simply said “Yes, Minister”.

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November 26th, 2013

Written in haste, repented at leisure?

Dan Rogerson

by Phillip Ward


I wonder if Dan Rogerson – the new waste and resources minister – will come to regret the letter he sent to industry stakeholders this month.

In some ways it is encouraging that he was honest in explaining the constraints of money and people that Owen Patterson’s decisions have left for his part of the Defra brief. It is both refreshing and unusual for government ministers to be clear about their priorities – or more particularly what they are not going to do. The temptation to appease interest groups by over-promising is not often resisted: after all few ministers, especially in this portfolio, stay long enough to be called to account for commitments they make but don’t deliver.

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June 28th, 2013

What works?

Oscars Replicas

by Phillip Ward


I’m looking forward to the National Recycling Awards on 3rd July for which I am one of the judges. It’s always a lively evening and a great networking event. They even gave me an award once.

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May 17th, 2013

Don’t shrink WRAP

Liz Goodwin, CEO, WRAP

by Phillip Ward


Defra is reviewing WRAP – again. Although styled a funding review in reality it goes much wider.

The consultation paper acknowledges WRAP’s past achievements but goes on to ask a number of questions about priorities and the WRAP business model. Essentially these cover:

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February 20th, 2013

Code of Practice not made perfect?

On the way to the recycling plant

by Phillip Ward


Defra’s much-delayed Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Code of Practice and the accompanying Quality Action Plan have now been published. Most of the reaction has been positive, but not from the Resource Association which represents the businesses that have to use the output of the recycling system. I think they are right to be disappointed and need support in persuading Defra that their current proposals will not achieve their stated objective. Defra’s aims are set out clearly enough:

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January 25th, 2013

What’s the point of work?

Gérard Depardieu Cannes 2010

by Phillip Ward


All the talk of strivers and skivers has led me to think about the point of work.

Once a society gets beyond subsistence, work can be considered as a means to both create wealth and, however imperfectly, share it.

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November 28th, 2012

Pickles puts councils in a jam

Eric Pickles

by Phillip Ward


The upside of Eric Pickles’ venture into waste funding is that thanks to the good sense of local authorities not all of the £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme will be wasted. By my reckoning it will pay for 23 new or extended food waste collections to be introduced and various expansions of recycling services, without any significant return to weekly residual waste collections.

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