Government reshuffle leaves expansion of green policies ‘mired in uncertainty’

COMPLIANCE specialist Ecoveritas has urged the UK Government to ‘stay the course’ on environmental reform, as Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) welcomes its fifth environment secretary in just over four years.

The latest government reshuffle saw Thérèse Coffey replaced by ex-health secretary Steve Barclay. Coffey’s year-long tenure saw Defra implement several environmental policies, including a single-use plastics ban for foodservice outlets and the protracted introduction of extended producer responsibility (EPR) data collection requirements.

Ecoveritas warned her sudden departure means the future expansion of these policies is again ‘mired in uncertainty’.

Andrew McCaffery, chief strategy officer at Ecoveritas, said, “It’s incredibly hard for businesses to build a trusting relationship with Defra when the direction from the top is continually changing. We would urge the government to take this opportunity to refocus and recommit to its environmental strategy – stay the course and let businesses plan for the future with confidence.

“We’ve already seen uncertainty plague the rollout of the single-use plastic ban and EPR, with many businesses still unsure or unaware of their obligations. Now is the time for the new environment secretary to offer clarity on the future of his policy – not more uncertainty.”

However, McCaffery also said there was cause for optimism, adding, “This does represent a clean slate and a chance to leave the sudden U-turns and tiresome culture war-style discussions around environmental policy behind. We can only hope the government allows the new secretary of state to take that chance.

“Data collection remains the only way businesses can act with certainty around their packaging supply chain and the packaging waste they create. Whichever direction the new environment secretary decides to take his department in, Ecoveritas remains on hand to support businesses with their packaging and packaging waste data.”