MRW’s quick-glance guide to policies for waste, recycling and resources as outlined by parties looking to form the next Government.
The long-awaited 25-year environment plan, due to be published by Defra earlier this year, has been promised in the manifesto. It also pledges to:
- Do more to reduce litter by “supporting comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling” and “better packaging”
- Force councils to remove roadside litter and prosecute offenders
- Set out a long-term plan for the dismantling of North Sea oil platforms: “…it is expected to be the first major oil and gas basin in the world to decommission fully, and we will take advantage of that to support the development of a world-leading decommissioning industry”
Specific policies that could affect the industry include:
- Targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes and working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste
- 60% of the UK’s energy from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030
- Throughout Brexit, environmental protection laws will fully protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses
- Use trade negotiations to boost market access for British environmental goods and services, alongside support for investment into new green technologies and innovative low-carbon products
The Liberal Democrats are committed to moving towards a circular economy, and want a Cabinet-level sustainability body. The manifesto makes a series of resource policy pledges including:
- A Zero Waste Act, with legally-binding targets for reducing net consumption of key natural resources and incentives for businesses to improve resource efficiency
- 70% waste recycling target in England and separate food waste collections in at least 90% of homes by 2022
- 5p charge on disposable coffee cups
- Reinstate the Landfill Tax escalator and consult on an Incineration Tax
- Promote better product design to improve repairability, reuse and recycling
Plaid Cymru: “Build upon the standards set by the EU which have protected the environment; reduce plastic waste with a deposit return scheme.”
Green Party: ”Tough action to reduce plastic and other waste, including the introduction of deposit return schemes, with a zero waste target.”
[On Lib Dems 5p coffee cup charge] Neil Whittall, chairman of the Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group: ”We do not believe a charge on paper cups is an appropriate way to deal with paper cup waste or to resolve the litter issue. Applying a charge to a product where there is no environment impact evidence to provide guidance on the most appropriate disposal route, may drive counter intuitive and unsustainable solutions. Furthermore, a charge on coffee cups is more likely to hit the consumer rather than support the recycling infrastructure.
[On Conservative environment plans] Renewable Energy Association chief executive Nina Skorupska: “Our members will be pleased with the renewed commitment to the 2050 carbon targets and the transposition of existing EU law into the UK, as well as a commitment to leading the world in low-carbon transport.”
Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association chief executive Charlotte Morton: ”We welcome the continued commitment from the Conservatives to meeting our carbon and climate change commitments. However, we would have appreciated more detail on how the AD industry will be supported to help the Government meet its pledges to move to a more diverse energy supply in practice, while reducing the amount of food that ends up being incinerated or going to landfill.
”ADBA welcomes the Labour Party’s commitment to boosting our supply of clean, green energy as well as their recognition that support for farmers should encourage sustainable practices. However, we are concerned about their proposed cap on energy bills, as this could have the unintended consequence of limiting investment in the sector.
”The Liberal Democrats have some strong environmental policies in their manifesto. However, it is a shame given their commitment to tackling the problem of waste that they don’t highlight AD’s great potential to prevent these materials going to incineration or landfill.”