What is the Welsh Government’s Environmental Bill? And When Will it Launch?
May 21 2015
Last week, the Welsh Government announced the latest draft of its environmental bill, which is due to come into effect in 2017. Among other things, the bill will place stricter regulations on the management of industrial waste and recycling by businesses.
The bill follows on from the one introduced by the Scottish Government in 2014, which also placed greater demands on companies presenting their waste for disposal and recycling. The northern nation is currently the front runner in environmentally conscious activity in the UK, producing the majority of British renewable energy and imposing stricter regulations on waste management. This 2017 bill should bring Wales more in line with their Celtic counterparts.
Stricter Waste Policies for Businesses
The proposal was explained by Carl Sergeant, the Welsh minister for environment, early last week. More than anything else, it will focus on how businesses approach the topics of waste disposal and recycling. Companies will be required to recycle all materials that they possibly can, as well as separating and cleaning the materials thoroughly to ensure a higher price in the marketplace.
It is aimed at all stages of waste development. Mr Sergeant explained: “The provisions of the Bill will act at different points in the waste management chain – at the producer of the waste, at the waste collection company and at the different points of treatment and final disposal or recovery.”
Furthermore, the bill contains requirements for all food waste to be sent to a recycling point and not to the sewers (from non-domestic addresses), as well as a blanket ban on sending recyclable materials to plants which generate energy from waste. The thinking behind this last proposal is that recyclables should be recycled – not turned into energy. This should be reserved for those materials which are not able to be recycled.
Another Step Forward for Wales
Wales is continuing to set an example for neighbouring England. In 2012, it was revealed that 49% of Welsh homes recycled their waste, a figure far higher than that in England. This is largely because weekly recycling collections were scrapped in England some years ago but remain a popular practice west of the border. Now, the government are looking to expand the good practices found in many Welsh homes into the workplace.
Forward-thinking policies, coupled with innovative technologies like those discussed at the Waste, Water and Environmental Monitoring (WWEM) 2014 conference in December last year, are surely the way to combat the growing problem of climate change and the havoc it is wreaking on our environment. Should this latest bill come into effect in 2017, Wales will have made another great stride forward in its environmentally conscious outlook.
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