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Spelman berated for 'lack of ambition' over waste review

Defra secretary Caroline Spelman was told by Labour MPs she has “a lack of ambition” in the House of Commons last week, when they lashed out at the waste review and its lack of targets.

MP for Lewisham Joan Ruddock asked Spelman whether communities secretary Eric Pickles had stopped her from sticking to her pledge of going “faster and we need to go further” when she announced the Government’s waste review last year.

Ruddock said: “So is it the secretary of state for communities and local government who has crushed her ambition and vetoed a target for recycling in this country? Having won the battle over fortnightly bin collections, why does she not now adopt Friends of the Earth’s target of halving black sack waste by 2020, thus reducing costs and creating jobs?”

MRW recently reported on tensions between the two state secretaries, who both have political interests in the waste sector. In reply to Ruddock’s questions, Spelman explained that the EU target to recycle 50% of household waste was still legally binding, while she felt targets can be “distorting”.

MP for Copeland Jamie Reed reiterated Ruddock’s question, saying it was due to Spelman’s lack of ambition: “The Welsh Government has adopted a 70% recycling rate, which will create 50,000 new jobs by 2025, yet in England this Government has abandoned recycling targets.”

Spelman said: “We have not scrapped recycling targets; we are committed to EU targets for recycling. In addition, we have more ambition with regard to landfill, which exceeds the ambition of the previous Government and involves proposals not to bury metal and wood in landfill.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Jonathan Straight

    I just think that this is really sad. Here is a government that has the ambition of being the greenest ever. The Prime Minister appears to have some grasp of the issues involved. Yet the Waste Review, whilst full of some good ideas does not carry these through into practical actions. There is little new in this document and we are still waiting for much of the information it refers to. Does the government not want a high recycling rate so that there is plently waste left to burn afterwards?

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