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Autumn Statement leaves green economy out in the cold, says CIWM
With the green economy representing one of the few areas of economic growth and potential for the UK, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management is disappointed to see it so poorly supported in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement that was made yesterday.
"Waste and resource management has an essential role to play in delivering a sustainable, low carbon future but the green economy got the cold shoulder from the Chancellor," says CIWM chief executive Steve Lee.
"While the cuts to Defra's budget over the next two years were both expected and are less severe that some had predicted, CIWM remains concerned about the resourcing and strength of Defra as the lead department on sustainable waste and resource management. Our sector has a key role to play in underpinning green growth by helping UK plc to become more resource efficient and competitive, and we need a government department that is capable of delivering strategic leadership and robust and timely policies to support this.
"CIWM is also concerned that the Chancellor's dedication to gas for the foreseeable future throws additional doubt on this Government's real commitment to developing renewable energy capacity, including energy from waste in all its forms, and decarbonising the UK's energy supply.
"There was much talk of infrastructure but in the updated National Infrastructure Plan, published alongside the Autumn Statement, there is little to report regarding waste infrastructure aside from further likely changes to the planning system. These include a review of the major infrastructure regime and changes to the planning appeals process, already out for consultation. The implications for our sector are not yet clear but policy uncertainty is already dogging waste planning and it is to be hoped that these developments will make a positive contribution to streamlining the process.
"All of these issues also impact on investor confidence, a critical factor for a sector that needs to deliver between £10 and £20 billion of new waste and resource management infrastructure by 2020. The Green Investment Bank has the potential to unlock some of this green growth and it is, therefore, disappointing that future capitalisation of the bank through borrowing is likely be constrained for a further year given the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecasts that national debt will not start falling now until 2016-17.
"The one positive outcome from was the 25% budget increase for UK Trade & Investment. The Government may not be committed to capitalising on our sector's economic and environmental potential here at home, but UK expertise and technology in this area offer significant export potential, and CIWM will continue to work closely with UKTI to realise this potential."
The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) is the leading professional body for the waste management sector representing over 7000 individuals in the UK and overseas. Established in 1898, CIWM is a non profit-making organisation, dedicated to the promotion of professional competence amongst waste managers. CIWM seeks to raise standards for those working in and with the sector by producing best practice guidance, developing educational and training initiatives, and providing information on key waste-related issues.
6th December 2012