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Charities slam Conservative recycling stance

The Conservative Party has done a lot to damage public support over pay-as-you-throw schemes through an inflammatory tabloid-driven campaign, claim the UKs leading environmental organisations.

In a report entitled Fit for the future?, environmental organisations including Friends of the Earth, the Green Alliance and Greenpeace say that despite Conservative support for green taxes the party has failed to put forward any significant green tax proposals over the past year. 

The Government wants to introduce pay-as-you-throw schemes as an incentive for people to recycle more, combined with charges for those who do not do their fair share.

Green Alliance policy advisor Hannah Hislop told MRW: "There has been a lot of uncertainty from Labour over financial incentive schemes for household waste which has been unhelpful. But the Government should be applauded for trying to get it right in the face of a lot of Conservative opposition. Eric Pickles has been used as a default waste spokesman for the Conservative Party - and his characterisation of revenue neutral incentive schemes as 'stealth taxes' has generated public hostility to a measure that helps improve recycling rates in other European countries".

The report suggests that Conservatives have opposed the pay-as-you-throw schemes through an inflammatory tabloid-driven campaign, whose characterisation of the schemes as an extra stealth tax has precluded proper debate and generated a great deal of public opposition.
 In response to these claims, a Conservative spokesman said: All bin taxes will lead to a surge in fly-tipping and back yard burning. Recycling rates are already going up so why does the Government need to punish people with a stealth tax.

The Conservatives also accuse the Government of covering up research from 2006 which shows that pay-by-weight rubbish taxes will lead to dangerous emissions of dioxins into the air from households burning their rubbish.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said: "We are only going to pilot these schemes in up to five areas precisely so that we can assess their impact before making any decision on their future in this country. We already have policies in place to tackle illegal burning of waste and do not anticipate any significant increase in pollution from dioxins."
The Fit for the future? report also maintains that all political parties have abandoned their concern for the environment over the past year and is calling on them to make clear commitments to action in their party conference speeches.

Image: Conservative Party shadow communities and local government spokesman Eric Pickles


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