New Environmental Services Association Chairman, Gavin Graveson. (photo: Tom Whipps)
New Environmental Services Association Chairman, Gavin Graveson.
27.11.2020, 14:12

Inauguration of ESA Chair

Gavin Graveson, Executive Vice-President of Veolia UK & Ireland, has been inaugurated as the new Chair of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), succeeding Viridor managing director, Phil Piddington.


ESA Chairs are elected bi-annually from its board of directors, with member organisations having invested billion of pounds during the last decade in driving more waste material further up the waste hierarchy, and helping increase recycling rates in the United Kingdom. As of 2020, ESA members employed 43,000 people (more than a third of the sector's workforce) and served more than 300,000 public and private sector customers.   


Graveson will continue and expand the association's activities which currently include working with the UK's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and other stakeholders on details of a government Resources and and Waste Strategy that opens for fresh consultations in the spring of 2021.


The introduction of a Plastic Packaging Tax in April 2022 will also see ESA consult with the Treasury to help boost recycling rates and drive investment in recycling infrastructure.


Other key areas of business will include:

  • Managing the industry challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit on 1 January 2021
  • A new strategy driving higher standards with common, consistent reporting for Health and safety
  • Working more closely with the Environment Agency on regulation to overcome challenges around permitting delays and inconsistent enforcement 
  • Addressing the practical issues regarding contamination levels and changes to the Basel Convention that will affect exports
  • Ensuring that ESA Members set the gold standard for energy from waste operations and support connections to district heating

Reflecting on his time with the association, Phil Piddington said: "It’s been a fascinating period to be Chair of the ESA and I think the organisation has been very successful at talking to Government, and other stakeholders like the EA and HSE, to share our collective experience and make sure the sector’s voice has been heard, which we can see largely reflected in the direction of travel for the Resources and Waste Strategy.


I would like to thank the other board members, the ESA officer team and all the other members involved in the ESA’s working groups and to welcome Gavin as the organisation’s new chair. I wish him well and know he’ll tirelessly drive delivery of the ESA’s strategic priorities on behalf of all of us." 

Graveson added: "I would like to thank Phil for his commitment and achievements as well as the resilience shown by ESA members as key workers during the pandemic. The industry stands poised to play a vital role in decarbonising the UK, ahead of COP26 next year.


"The public are really engaged on the topic of carbon and climate change, and we should be proud of what we've done to cut emissions. But we can also do more, and I’m excited by the work the recently created ESA Climate Change Working Group are doing, and will look to drive this agenda forward to build a better, more circular and sustainable future."


ESA Executive Director, Jacob Hayler, commented: "I would like to thank Phil for his time as ESA chairman over the past two years, and for helping the organisation to deliver much of the important work outlined in our first Annual Report, published last week. We look forward to working closely with Gavin to deliver our new organisational strategy as ESA members continue to gear up for the biggest policy shake-up in a generation, while also leading our sector’s pursuit of net-zero carbon emissions."


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