Intelligence Briefing 13 January 2012

Published: 13/01/2012

New text agreed for WEEE | EEF meets 'UK Green Investments' to discuss industrial energy efficiency | Meeting with Bank of England | Help support new research into barriers for disable entrepreneurs | Weekly Focus – EEF calls for a resource strategy amid concern about access to raw materials | In the news | Week in Review | The week ahead

News

New text agreed for WEEE

The European Council, Parliament and Commission have agreed on new text for the recast of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. The new text includes changes to the targets and scope of the directive. However, it introduces a transition period for targets. This will mean a move to 45% of the weight of electrical and electronic equipment introduced on the market after four years, and finally in seven years member states will be free to choose one of two methods. The new text also introduces a second transition period for the opening of the scope to all equipment of six years. These decisions follow policy discussions by EEF of MEPs last autumn.

The European Parliament will vote on the final text on Thursday 19 January at their plenary session in Strasbourg. EEF will be meeting with BIS next week to discuss the transposition into UK law and changes required to the UK WEEE Regulations.

For more information contact Fergus McReynolds, Senior Climate and Environment Policy Adviser

EEF meets 'UK Green Investments' to discuss industrial energy efficiency

The government will invest in green projects as 'UK Green Investments' (UKGI) from April 2012, and until such time as the state aid approval necessary for the Green Investment Bank is received. EEF met with UKGI to discuss its plans to support industrial energy efficiency on 9 January 2012. UKGI has identified 'non-domestic' energy efficiency as a strategic priority and earmarked £100m of its 2012/13 budget to support projects in this area. It is interested in understanding where economically viable industrial energy efficiency projects are being held back by problems securing investment and finance.

If you have energy efficiency plans that have been undermined by access to finance issues please contact Roger Salomone, Energy and Regulation Adviser

Meeting with Bank of England

Ahead of the Monetary Policy Committee’s interest rate meeting, EEF met with the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Spencer Dale, to discuss the outlook for the economy and prices in 2012. Issues discussed included the impact of the ongoing Eurozone crisis on manufacturing, manufacturers’ employment intentions in the year ahead, and issues arising from commodity shortages.

For more information contact <Lee Hopley, Chief Economist

Help support new research into barriers for disabled entrepreneurs

EEF is supporting work by the disability charity, Leonard Cheshire, to remove the barriers to the success of disabled entrepreneurs in engineering. As part of this, in early 2012, they will carry out a national survey on the experiences and challenges faced by disabled business owners in the engineering sector. We have offered to raise awareness of this initiative and will circulate further details of the survey when it is launched as part of Intelligence Briefing and hope that where relevant EEF members will participate. However, in the first instance Leonard Cheshire are looking for disabled business owners who might be willing to join a focus group to help shape the survey and research.

Further details of what’s involved and how you can help are outlined here


Weekly focus

EEF calls for a resource strategy amid concern about access to raw materials

When the Government launched its review of English waste policy it promised to help unlock the real economic value of wastes and assess what policies were really needed to achieve this.

Six months on from the government publishing the result of this exercise we wanted to know whether Defra has succeeded in increasing the opportunity for sustainable waste management and resource efficiency for manufacturing – and if not, what needs to be done?

Publishing our findings in a new report – Defra’s Waste Policy: Six Months on – on Monday, we highlighted to government three key recommendations:

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We need a long-term resource strategy. Manufacturers still hold a deep concern about accessing secure resources at the right quality, at the right price. In a recent survey of members, 80 per cent now regard a shortage of raw materials as a risk to their business. Of these, two thirds said it was their top risk. In addition, 1 in 6 companies said that a shortage of raw materials is now a brake on growth. We need a UK wide resource management strategy, analyzing how materials can flow more easily in the economy, setting out what we need for the long-term. Other than some embryonic work to secure critical materials, the government has not seized the initiative here and could, and should, be much more ambitious.

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Secondly, the legislative framework for waste is confusing, disjointed and can inadvertently act as a barrier to resource efficiency. We need a new cohesive policy framework centred on valuing waste as a resource, whilst ensuring the environment is protected. This could revitalize the waste regulatory framework that has evolved piecemeal over the last 30 years. We believe there is a real opportunity for new regulatory approaches here. Regulators can stimulate resource efficiency by outlining what is permissible, rather than what is not. There is also an argument for retargeting some of the existing regulatory stock. In particular, where a materials market is functioning well, government should reduce packaging and producer responsibility regulation, and shift the focus to materials that need more market intervention.

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Thirdly, manufacturers need excellent waste services and expert advice they can trust in order to make the most out of their wastes. Announcements such as the local authority commitment to open up services to businesses and the responsibility deal signed by the waste management sector are positive steps. We hope this marks the start of an ongoing process to open up access to all local authority waste infrastructure and ensure businesses get a high-quality service from their waste contractors.

Resource efficiency can give our businesses and the UK a real competitive edge. We will be taking this message to government and pushing them to match the ambitions of business.

If you would like to receive more information or get involved in our policy development and campaigning on waste, please contact Susanne Baker, Senior Climate and Environment Policy Adviser


In the news

This week we published our six month Review of the Government’s Waste Strategy which was reported in The Independent and FT.


Week in review

UK Trade

The UK’s trade in goods deficit was £8.6bn in November, compared with £7.9bn in October. This was driven by a fall in exports to non-EU countries combined with an increase in imports from the EU.

MPC decision

The Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the base rate at 0.5% and size of the asset purchase programme at £275 billion. The latest round of asset purchases (announced in October) will take another month to complete.

Index of Production

Manufacturing output fell by 0.2% in the month to November 2011, and total production industries output fell 0.6%.

Producer prices

Input prices for manufacturers fell 0.6% between November and December 2011. The annual rate of increase in input prices eased to 8.7% in December, the lowest rate since October 2010.

 


The week ahead

Tue 17th: Consumer prices
Wed 18th: Labour Market Statistics
Thu 19th: EEF Pay Settlements
Fri 20th: Retail sales; Trends in Lending


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