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Truss forgoes resource efficiency in Tory conference speech

The environment secretary has been criticised for failing to mention the circular economy or resource efficiency in her speech at the Conservative party’s annual conference.

Liz Truss

Source: Policy Connect

Elizabeth Truss, right, spoke at the four-day event in Birmingham in one of her first public addresses since she took over the brief in the latest Government reshuffle.

Her speech was focused on food and agriculture, with one observer noting it contained more mentions of “black pudding” than for “circular economy” (see tweet below).

Truss said: “I represent one of the most productive agricultural areas of the country in the fine county of Norfolk….and I am infatuated with British food.”

Farming and food production were important economic sectors, she noted, with export increasing by more than £1bn in the last four years.

Truss also listed the Government efforts to tackle climate change, clean up rivers and beaches, plant trees and improve flood defences.

She described the Tory stance on environmental issues as “practical conservative environmentalism”, “where a strong, healthy environment is a core part of a strong, healthy economy.”

Matthew Farrow, executive director at the Environmental Industries Commission, said the organisation was disappointed at a “lack of detail” on wider environmental challenges, such as air quality or resource efficiency.

“Defra also needs to think carefully about how we are going to meet the 50% recycling targets for 2020 given the recent stalling of recycling rates. We will be encouraging ministers to set out a more robust plan for action in the forthcoming Conservative manifesto.”

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