CPI calls for government action on raw materials, energy, people and water to ensure UK's paper industry remains competitive in global market

SWINDON, England , September 25, 2013 (press release) – In his September Briefing to Members of Parliament, Confederation of Paper Industries’ Director General, David Workman, calls for action to be taken on four main critical areas of concern – raw materials, energy, people and water, to ensure that the UK Paper Industry remains competitive in the global arena.

Mr Workman highlights that the industry continues to have issues with the quality of materials from the waste stream. He calls on MPs to realise that some fundamental changes in approach are needed, including:

· a more uniform approach to collection systems,
· encouraging local authorities to segregate all materials into separate streams,
· providing increased incentives to invest in the latest processing technologies,
· ensuring that the current definition of “end of waste” for paper is retained.

CPI is also pressing for tighter controls on materials used in the generation of energy from waste (EfW) and would like to see the same incentives applied to the use of unrecyclable material in on-site industrial Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants that are currently available for the use of biomass.

Mr Workman said:

‘We need to develop internationally agreed sustainability criteria for the use of wood and remove subsidies for its use in large scale energy generation.”

On Packaging, Mr Workman simply states that “we need to stop demonising packaging”, outlining that packaging materials are much lighter and more resource efficient than they were 20 years ago and are designed with space saving efficiency in mind.

The Briefing continues by highlighting energy security and access to supplies of gas and electricity at internationally competitive prices as being the two overriding priorities for the papermaking sector, and that the UK’s energy policy needs to focus on exploiting its own energy resources – cleaner coal and shale gas.

Mr Workman stated:

“If the current direction on energy policy is to continue, we need to follow the example set by Germany and ensure that Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs) are not disadvantaged over the transition period.”

A further concern raised in the Briefing is that of people, with Mr Workman stating that a major issue facing many manufacturing sectors is its age profile. He calls for action to encourage more young people to see manufacturing as a worthwhile career option and praises the efforts of government to raise literacy and numeracy levels , whilst calling for “more of the same please.”

Lastly, Mr Workman addresses water as one further critical area of concern for the Industry. A secure, consistent and continuous supply of fresh water is vital to the Paper Industry. CPI is seeking to ensure water companies become more efficient in planning water needs, a strategic water storage system and recognition that any charges should take account of water used and water returned to the environment. Mr Workman said:

“Future regulation needs to use managing water risk as the driver for water efficiency – not simply price.”

Mr Workman concludes by calling on MPs to encourage further inward investment in the industry by ensuring access to secure and internationally competitive energy sources, high quality recovered paper supplies, a skilled workforce with a good work ethic and to continuous sources of fresh water.

The full MPs Briefing can be downloaded from the CPI website at www.paper.org.uk.

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