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Stewart confident UK will hit recycling targets

Resources minister Rory Stewart has issued a statement of confidence in the the UK meeting its recycling target of 50% by 2020.

The Defra under-secretary of state dismissed fears from Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who questioned him on how the department planned to apportion fines related to missing the EU target between councils.

Stewart (above) said: “The Government has published a policy statement on Part 2 of the Localism Act 2011 concerning the handling of EU infractions and localism.

“This sets out arrangements for apportioning of fines in relation to infractions of EU legislation, should this be necessary.

“The UK is working towards the achievement of the EU target to recycle 50% of household waste by 2020 which means the issue of potential fines does not arise.”

His view contrasts with recent views expressed by experts, who said that the UK would not meet its 2020 targets unless England’s rate of recycling improves faster.

While Scotland and Wales are on course, English figures dominate the overall total. The Environmental Services Association and LARAC called for a shift in policy to achieve this.

Defra’s latest household waste recycling figures reached a record high of 44.8% for 2014, up from 44.2% in 2013, driven by a 9.9% increase in organics recycling.

But the annual rate would need to increase by at least 1% a year to meet the EU target.

The Local Government Association recently said councils needed more money to achieve this.

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