Stronger action needed on raw material shortage

The Government must take urgent action on the pending raw material crunch facing the UK, warned a broad group of business and environmental organisations. A joint letter from the Material Security Working Group, which includes the EEF and Friends of the Earth, warns that if the UK doesn't develop a stronger strategy to keep valuable raw materials circulating within the economy, there will be significant consequences for UK industry.

The letter calls for the Government's Resource Security Action Plan, published in March, to be strengthened and its ambitions raised. The group claims increasing global demand coupled with rapidly degrading ecosystems is already putting pressure on supplies of some raw materials. The cost of raw materials has risen substantially in recent years, with commodity prices in the last decade wiping out a century-long decline.

A recent EEF survey found that 80% of senior manufacturing executives considered limited access to raw materials were already a business risk and a threat to growth.

Measures being called for include: an Office for Resource Management to deal with the crisis consistently; a task force to review existing targets and recommend policy changes to improve recycling; and a ban preventing recyclable materials being sent to 'energy from
waste' plants and landfills unless there is an environmental and economic case for doing so.

Justin Cunningham

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