Former environment secretary Lord Deben has become the latest high-profile Tory to speak out against ministers’ campaign to increase weekly rubbish collections.
Lord Deben, left, told a conference on food waste hosted by the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group that he disagreed with ditching alternative weekly collections.
Responding to a question from MRW, he said: “Of course we should have alternate weekly collections.
“Of course one of those should be a recycling collection, and there should also be a weekly collection for food waste.”
The former Tory MP added: “I do not think that the Government should have continued the Conservative promise that we were going to go back to once a week collections for everything.”
Councils wanting to bid for a slice of the £250m weekly collection support scheme fund were asked to submit expressions of interest by Friday 16 March. The Department for Communities and Local Government declined to comment on how many councils had applied.
Lord Deben’s comments follow Tory MP Anne McIntosh, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee, telling MRW she was “not detecting any appetite” from residents in her constituency to move back to a weekly collection.
McIntosh called on communities secretary Eric Pickles to “live by his own Localism Act” by allowing councils to decide how often bins were collected.
Lord Deben, once described by the BBC as an “environment secretary against which all others are judged”, also said England was lagging behind Scotland, Wales and the European Union on the food waste agenda. But he praised the Government’s bid to close the gap.
“We have caught up faster than anyone thought possible in all the areas covered by your magazine [MRW],” he added.
Lord Deben - John Gummer before his ascension to the Lords - served as environment secretary between 1993 and 1997. He also called for an end of ‘sell by’ and ‘eat before’ dates, dismissing them as “nonsense”.
A DCLG spokeswoman said of the £250m fund: “The deadline for expressions of interest has just been passed. The department is pleased with the responses, which we are currently looking at.
“The Government’s £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme is there to help councils retain or reinstate weekly residual waste and improve recycling services for their residents. The deadline councils should have in their diary is 11 May, by which time they should have submitted an outline bid.”