Over 20,000 British businesses are to be questioned about the waste they generate in what the Environment Agency of England and Wales claims is the biggest national waste survey ever to be carried out in Europe. Announced yesterday, the survey will contribute to a national waste strategy due to be published next year, under which the government plans to set multi-year targets to reduce waste for final disposal (ENDS Daily 9 June). In common with other EU countries, the UK currently has only poor data on waste arisings. This has hampered effective policy-making at national and EU level, the European Environment Agency said this summer (ENDS Daily 2 June). During the survey, agency staff will visit or telephone companies in England and Wales to ask in confidence about the quantities and types of waste generated and how it is currently dealt with. They will also use the opportunity to give firms waste management advice. In a pilot exercise of some 2,700 firms carried out last year, the agency discovered that 90% of businesses were not attempting to minimise waste at all and that 70% thought doing so would not increase their competitiveness.
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