Cut red tape to create jobs, says inquiry

The Nuclear AMRC and AMRC Factory of the Future, Rotherham
The Nuclear AMRC and AMRC Factory of the Future, Rotherham
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THE Government could help to create thousands of jobs by cutting red tape which is stifling the growth of environmentally friendly remanufacturing processes, according to a report published today.

The report warns that the Government must do more to “lift the regulatory burden” on UK remanufacturing to help the sector realise its economic, social and environmental potential.

According to the British Standards Institution, remanufacturing involves a process which saves money and helps to protect the environment by returning a used product to “as good as new” condition.

The report by the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) and All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group (APMG), follows an eight-month inquiry chaired by the former Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, the co-chairman of both the APSRG and APMG.

The 108-page report provides more than 20 recommendations for government and industry and states that, with the future of manufacturing “inextricably linked to environmental sustainability”, remanufacturing must play a critical role in helping to reduce the consumption of raw materials.

The report warns that despite its expansion in recent years, the UK remanufacturing sector continues to face significant barriers to growth due to a regulatory focus on “lower denominators of the waste hierarchy” such as recycling.

The report calls on the Government to adopt a legal definition of remanufacturing to provide clarity, as well as changing its guidance on the legal definition of waste.

It urges the Government to lead by example, by putting UK-remanufactured items at the heart of procurement projects for items such as office furnishing, electrical equipment and medical supplies.

The report also calls on industry to work more collaboratively across the supply chain, and it challenges original equipment manufacturers and third party remanufacturers to establish clearer lines of communication between themselves. The inquiry has received support from the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres, which were set up to provide a boost for the UK’s manufacturing sector. The catapult centres include the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing, which is based in Rotherham.

Ms Spelman said: “The UK can be a world leader in remanufacturing excellence, but only if Government and industry set themselves ambitious targets and commit to working together to realise the enormous triple win potential that remanufacturing offers in economic, social and environmental terms.

“The opportunities are enormous. Remanufacturing increases the potential for reshoring parts and products, provides opportunities for improving national resource resilience and has the potential for economic growth and the creation of thousands of skilled jobs, particularly at SME (small and medium-sized enterprise ) level.”