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Lightweight plans come under fire

The Government's new waste strategy document was slammed as lacking in substance at an ICE waste conference last week.

Waste Planning Officer at Hampshire County Council Richard Read speaking after a DETR presentation of the Government's waste management strategy, led the accusations that the Government was not going far enough to deal with an impending waste management crisis. He said: 'I was disappointed by the strategy. It doesn't tell us how the EU Landfill Directive targets are going to be delivered apart from a few mild threats to local authorities. I would like the government to come off the fence and tell us what the guidance is.

'The infrastructure we need is virtually impossible to deliver under the present regime. The Government have got to say, if the planning authorities don't get applications through they are going to be very heavily penalised.' Read cited the example of an innocuous 20k capacity composting plant which had taken Hampshire County Council over a year to gain planning permission for New Policy Planning Guidance 10 (PPG10) outlining land use planning aspects of the overall waste policy would also fail to get to grips with action needed to reach targets, said Read. He said: 'I've seen a draft of the long awaited PPG 10. Don't hold your breath. It passes the buck to regional planning bodies but they have no statutory authority to act.'

Read said that despite Hampshire's level of 22% waste recycling, it was still disposing of more waste now than in 1989.

A spokeswoman for the Council for the Protection of Rural England, Emily Richmond, praised the Government's new strategy document. 'It's written in positive language and shows a change of attitude. Change is not impossible. We've seen sustainable waste management move forward in leaps and bounds in Denmark and Canada,' she said.

But Richmond warned against rallying calls to rush through planning permissions for more incinerators. 'I'm worried that permission for incinerators will be granted too easily. We need to be careful lest we undermine waste minimisation. I would suggest the Environment Agency needs to play a greater role.'

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