Wrap annual conference: Caroline Spelman talks about waste

This is my report from inside the conference.

“British business could save around £23 billion a year by improving the way they use energy, materials and water” said the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman.

Speaking at the annual WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) conference the Spelman pointed out that developing our energy system is not anymore only an environmental issue.

After praising WRAP for cutting millions of tones of household food waste since 2006, she explained the necessity for the manufacturers to change their way of producing and using energy.

For Mrs. Spelman “good resource management will help rebalance the economy and put it on a more sustainable footing”.

With the financial crisis and the risk of recession companies need more than ever to save money and cut the cost of their business.

Saving energy is not he only measure on the agenda. The waste sector is a “bright star”, she continued, of economic growth with a projected three to four per cent increase a year.

According to Spelman, local Governments have the responsibility to engage local people in reducing and converting the sources of energy because business could not sustain all the cost of economic recovery.

The local Governments support must also have a surveillance function because even in the waste industry, police have recorded some very disturbing issues that risk ruining this new sustainable trade.

“I’m sure all of you have heard about the increasing problem of metal theft. A problem that is disrupting travel. Putting power supplies and communication systems at risk. And that even affected Remembrance Sunday last weekend, through the outrageous theft of memorial plaques” said Spelman.

“It is important that across Government we act decisively. We must make sure that there’s no hiding place for anyone involved in this illegal trade. So I’ve got a message for metal thieves – they can expect a knock at the door”.

To fight this illegal trade the Government has increased the penalty and these criminals can now face a heavy fine, a possible criminal prosecution, and ultimately jail.

The Secretary assured the commitment to stamp out illegal trade and help the legitimate companies with the Green Economy Road map that was launched in August. Its publication has helped us develop a dialogue between Government, business and society.

Then Spelman concluded by saying that “this is a dialogue that will enable us to meet our ambitions for a thriving green economy. An economy that creates the right conditions needed to transform it from one of waste and inefficiency to a more sustainable model and one that demonstrates green growth. A model that creates the right conditions for innovation and entrepreneurs to flourish. Allowing the market for waste materials to grow. Creating opportunities for collection, recycling, reprocessing and recovery of more waste”.

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