Shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs Mary Creagh has said that the Government should be providing more certainty over its waste management policies to encourage investment in the waste and resource industry.
In a keynote speech on the second day of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) conference (12 June), Creagh reinforced the Labour party concern that the waste sector requires better leadership from the Government to reassure investors.
She said: “The UK economy is flat-lining. The resources sector should be a key economic driver to create green jobs and growth that we need.
The last Labour government transformed this nation’s relationship to municipal waste. We quadrupled household recycling. Introduced new strategies to divert waste from landfill and secured capital investment.
“I think this progress has stalled under this Government.”
The speech came after resources minister Lord de Mauley supported a Government drive towards a circular economy yesterday.
In response, Creagh said that growth in the sector has been undermined by the deregulatory and anti-environment rhetoric of the Government and in turn has created uncertainty for businesses and held back capital investment.
She explained that businesses and investors need a stable policy framework, which they are not getting that from this Government. This mirrored calls from industry for more certainty and clarity over policy at last month’s Investor Symposium.
Creagh added that the Government’s policies were overshadowed by infighting between ministers from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) over weekly bin collections and smelly waste.
She said: “Defra ministers are retreating from Labour’s ambition to become a zero-waste economy. I think the 2011 Waste Review was a missed opportunity to drive innovation and to boost that investor confidence.”
Creagh added that the Government had failed to set an ambitious recycling target for England and instead set the bare EU minimum of 50% by 2020.
However, when asked in a Q&A session about what targets Labour would set if they returned to Government, Creagh declined to offer a number. But she did highlight that, under Labour, England would not be allowed to rely on Wales and Scotland’s superior recycling figures to get a “free ride” when it comes to recycling targets.
- In a recent Big Interview with MRW, Gavin Shuker recently called for more waste policy leadership from Government.