A report by a committee of MPs said that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provided grants to some local authorities using the private finance initiative to build new waste management infrastructure, but the term of such contracts (typically 25-30 years) did not offer the necessary flexibility to respond to rapid technological change and evolving policy requirements. The committee said that delays in the Department's intervention in struggling projects led to delays and extra costs, and that their response to the Norfolk PFI waste project had been particularly poor.
Source: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Oversight of three PFI waste projects, Fourteenth Report (Session 201415), HC 106, House of Commons Public Accounts Select Committee, TSO
An article examined the concept of moral economy, looking at institutional variations in the moral economies of recycling in England and Sweden. It said that the moral messages used to promote recycling were closely related to the system of recycling provision within a country, and that these together shaped nationally distinct moral economies of recycling.
Source: Kathryn Wheeler, 'Nice save: the moral economies of recycling in England and Sweden', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Volume 34 Number 4
A report set out the government's new framework for managing higher activity radioactive waste in the long term through geological disposal, including the approach to making siting decisions.
Source: Implementing Geological Disposal: A Framework for the long-term management of higher activity radioactive waste, Department for Energy and Climate Change
A report by a committee of MPs said that the government was involved in a number of initiatives to support a more circular economy (to improve resource use and re-use, and reduce waste) but instead of scaling up its work it was cutting it back, and its approach lacked leadership. The report said that the government should learn from the approaches adopted by other countries, embrace the European Union's targets for improving resource productivity by 30 per cent, support business, and support the European Commission's proposals for recycling and the accompanying targets.
Source: Growing a Circular Economy: Ending the throwaway society, Third Report (Session 201415), HC 214, House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee, TSO
An audit report said that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had given good support and guidance to the local authorities involved in three private finance initiative (PFI) waste contracts. However, all three projects had experienced significant delays stemming from a range of problems (such as planning permission, complex commercial considerations, opposition from local groups, and uncertainty over technology), and there had been a lack of clarity over aspects of the projects and over the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved. The report said that the nature of the department's funding agreements for two projects, which the department had inherited from predecessors, made it difficult to withdraw or amend the financial support to the contracts.
Source: Oversight of Three PFI Waste Projects, National Audit Office
A report provided the findings from Public Health England's review of the potential public health impacts of exposures to chemical and radioactive pollutants as a result of the shale gas extraction process.
Source: Review of the Potential Public Health Impacts of Exposures to Chemical and Radioactive Pollutants as a Result of the Shale Gas Extraction Process, Public Health England
A report examined the drivers behind innovation in the waste management industry, the diversion of waste from landfill sites in the United Kingdom, and the role of the landfill tax.
Source: Adrian Talbot, Qualitative Research into Drivers of Diversion from Landfill and Innovation in the Waste Management Industry, Research Report 316, HM Revenue & Customs
The government published reports and responses from a consultation on how to improve the decision making process for the siting of radioactive waste facilities. The government would publish a revised siting policy alongside their response to the consultation later in 2014.
Source: Review of the Siting Process for a Geological Disposal Facility: Summary of responses, Department for Energy and Climate Change