Steve Lee is probably one of the most knowledgeable persons in the field of sustainable resources and waste management in the UK. Steve has over 25 years’ experience developing a broad knowledge of the industries, their people and priorities. He uses that to develop information, skills, best practice and influence not just in the waste management industry but in customer sectors and, crucially, in and with governments at a national, UK and EU level. Steve is now recognised as a key ‘integrator’ across the field of more sustainable resource management and the circular economy.
Steve’s early experience included four years in the West Midlands Metropolitan County Council. Here he provided hydrogeological and technical expertise for all stages of waste facility operation from identification to aftercare plus regulatory and planning authority support. At Leicestershire County Council he developed the County’s first waste disposal plan from the waste arisings survey through to consultation and publication. He also managed the planning permission applications and development of the facilities required to implement it.
At Leicestershire County Council his role developed to include all waste regulation including permitting, hazardous (special) waste monitoring and all associated compliance and prosecution follow-up. On transfer of the council’s assets to the newly-formed LAWDC, Steve became the County’s Waste Disposal Officer as well as its Waste Regulation Officer and regional representative for the National Association of Waste Regulation Officers. His multi-disciplinary team developed ground-breaking projects, including one of the country’s first waste minimisation plans.
Steve was closely involved with preparatory stages for the creation of the Environment Agency working with representatives from its constituent parts to ensure continued operation and the first stages of integration for its April 1996 start-up.
At the Environment Agency Steve was firstly its Midlands Regional Waste Manager and then Head of Waste. A large part of that role was further integration of waste activities and staff to create a single service, to engage it with the broader policy and operations of the Agency and providing an advisory and expert support to DEFRA / DETR. He also chaired the Agency’s hazardous waste working groups (and was the client / operational manager for the first national hazardous waste IT system) and co-ordinated and presented verbal and written evidence to select committee inquiries – including both the Environmental Audit Committee and the EFRA Committee – and two Public Accounts Committee investigations.
As chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management from 2003 to 2016, Steve has led modernisation of the Institution, including major IT projects for website development and management, document management and integration of systems. He has also led development of a range of strategic partnerships, both in and around the sustainable resources and wastes industry, including both formal and informal partnership bodies and working. In particular Steve has been able to bring a range of disciplines and expertise to focus on development of policy and practice in more sustainable resources management. This includes development of skills and competence with WAMITAB and training partners in the industry; leadership of the Defra AD strategy development; and partnerships including the tripartite annual waste conference with ESA and the Resources Association.
Moreover as chief executive of Resources and Waste UK and key member of the Trade Associations Group (TAG) and the Society for the Environment, Steve provides a networking and co-ordinating role across much of the resources and waste sector.