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Defra urged on mandatory food waste laws

Defra has been urged to introduce mandatory food waste reduction targets in England.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Labour’s environment spokesperson Baroness Jones of Whitchurch said the UK’s food waste recycling rate had stalled, with an “unacceptably high level” sent to landfill.

“In these circumstances, does it not make sense for the Government to stop relying purely on voluntary agreements – although they have their place – and to introduce mandatory food waste reduction targets in England across the supply chain?

“This approach has already worked and made a significant difference in Scotland, Wales and many European countries. Is it not time that we took similar robust action in England?”

Defra minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble did not answer the question directly but praised WRAP’s voluntary Courtauld 2025 commitment.

Liberal Democrats environment spokesperson Baroness Parminter asked whether the upcoming results from the third phase of WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment would include company names.

Again, Gardiner (pictured) avoided the question, just saying he “would look at” the results.

He was more firm on the Government’s position when asked about withdrawing laws preventing food waste from being fed to pigs.

“My Lords, there are difficulties with that, I am afraid, precisely because of what happened in 2001 and so forth. I will have to disappoint my noble friend,” he said, referring to a blanket ban introduced by the EU in 2002, following the foot-and-mouth outbreak the year before.

Campaigners such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Tristram Stuart have lobbied for this law to be revoked.

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