Labour has slammed Defra’s “unambitious” recycling targets and revealed it would consider raising them to bring England into line with Scotland and Wales if elected in 2015.
Shadow waste minister Gavin Shuker said the current regime allowed England to “merely scrape over the bar” with unambitious targets while the devolved nations “pull ahead”.
He told the RWM show in Birmingham: “Aligning our recycling targets with the rest of the UK could create jobs and promote growth.”
“So we will consider recycling targets which could bring England into line with the devolved administration in Wales and Scotland, producing one economic area with the same targets.”
Shuker also criticised the coalition Government’s “lack of policy certainty” and mixed messages on waste which he said was having a “chilling effect on investment”.
Britain must embrace the opportunity to “create green jobs” through leadership, better compliance and appropriate standards, or face becoming “once again the ‘dirty man of Europe’”, he added.
The MP for Luton South confirmed shadow ministers were exploring the possibility of a Government-wide “office of resource efficiency” to coordinate and “focus minds on resources” across Whitehall.
This, he said, was a solution to short-termism and lack of joined-up Government policy.
Shuker outlined a raft of other waste and resources measure Labour would explore:
- A focus on creating UK jobs and UK growth through and in the waste and resources sector
- An advanced industrial strategy that harnesses the power of Government and the private sector together
- Using Government procurement standards to design out waste
- Improving the enforcement of existing legislation to ensure a level playing field for UK reprocessors
- Asking how recycling can be made more ethical; and reprocessing more local
- And throughout all of this, demonstrating clear and consistent government leadership, not creating policy uncertainty and investor inaction.