Government Thanks Waste Sector In COVID-19 Crisis

The Environment Secretary has written a letter to the UK’s waste and recycling sector, thanking organisations for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

9, a:1:{i:0;s:8:”defaults”;}, conveyor belt scraper, Government Thanks Waste Sector In COVID-19 Crisis, The Environment Secretary has written a letter to the UK’s waste and recycling sector, thanking organisations for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic., Environment secretary Rebecca Pow has written a letter to the UK’s waste and recycling sector, thanking organisations in this industry for their continued work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She described the work that they are carrying out as “vital” and said that she wanted to “pay tribute to all of you who are working in such challenging times to protect the environment, local amenity and people’s health”.

As well as praising the sector for its continued efforts to maintain rubbish collection and recycling services, she also highlighted the “cooperative spirit” in the industry, commenting: “I know you are looking at ways you can work together and have been an invaluable help to us in government, feeding back important information on the impact of the outbreak.”

Ms Pow explained that the government has issued guidance relating to how to maintain safe working practices during this time, including advice on implementing social distancing measures and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in recycling and waste settings.

She also said that the government had published guidance to help local authorities prioritise the waste collection services they provide.

In particular, Ms Pow underlined the importance of black bag collections to “protect people’s health and the environment”.

Executive director of the Environmental Services Association (ESA) Jacob Hayler told Resource that the industry appreciated being acknowledged in this way. He also stressed that the waste and recycling sector has been able to “maintain good service levels in the face of unprecedented challenges”.

He added: “The ESA will continue to work closely with Defra and other government departments to ensure waste services keep moving effectively until this disease is overcome.”

Meanwhile, head of policy at compliance company Ecosurety Robbie Staniforth told the publication that those in the sector have “been impressed by the government’s engagement with industry to date”.

He added that it will be some time yet before the full impact on business compliance with producer responsibility laws is known, but also pointed to the cooperation between local authorities and contractors, describing it as “encouraging” to see the commitment to maintaining recycling collections during this time.

Many recycling centres closed in the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, but there are growing calls for these facilities to reopen sooner rather than later.

Energy Live News reported on the findings of a survey conducted by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), which found that 30 per cent of the 250 local authorities it surveyed at the start of April had experienced an increase in incidents of fly tipping in the range of zero to 20 per cent in the week commencing 6 April.

What’s more, almost 20 per cent estimated that the rate of fly tipping had increased by between 20 and 50 per cent in the same period.

Four per cent of the councils questioned reported seeing fly tipping incidents increase by more than 50 per cent in the first week of April.

Ian Fielding, chair of ADEPT’s waste group, told the news provider that although many recycling centres in the UK are closed, fly tipping clearance services are “running almost as normal”.

He added: “We would encourage householders to check anyone offering to remove their bulky waste is licensed to do so.”

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