In partnership with SLR and Anthesis, Miller Research was commissioned by Welsh Government to undertake a review of the Wales Waste Plan (WWP). The review is a requirement of the Waste Framework Directive, Article 30 that requires all EU member state’s waste plans to be periodically reviewed to ensure compliance and cohesion with legal obligations. The WWP outlines the overall waste strategy for Wales, comprising Towards Zero Waste, and tailored sector plans. These plans deliver on international obligations set by the European Union, such as the Waste Directive targets, which set recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2030, and the move towards a circular economy. Central to the strategy are the milestones set out in Towards Zero Waste. By 2025 Wales aims to have reduced waste produced to less than 30% of 2007 levels, eliminated waste going to landfill (to less than 5%) and to have a 70% recycling rate. By 2050, Wales aims to be producing less than 65% waste of the 2007 baseline, with residual waste either recycled or reused.

The review encompassed three Work Streams. Work Stream 1 comprised a retrospective evaluation of progress achieved so far, Work Stream 2 was a quantitative assessment of the benefits of WWP against a “business as usual” scenario, while Work Stream 3 reviews lessons learned looking at future delivery.

For the evaluation of Work Stream 1, an innovative framework was compiled, drawing upon the key policy drivers for the intervention. The framework integrated the EU Better Regulations evaluation guidance, the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act, and the UK Government Green and Magenta book guidance. Quantitative data provided insightful findings for Wales’ contribution towards the key targets of WWP. Miller Research and SLR were then commissioned to undertake in-depth qualitative work to inform these findings, involving a secondary review of pre-existing evaluations and reviews of WG’s waste strategies. This informed the existing findings, and then stakeholder engagement exercises, which comprised an online survey and interviews with stakeholders representing the wide variety of sectors the WWP engages.