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Labour environment policy omits recycling

Labour has issued an environmental policy paper that fails to mention recycling, with the party saying a separate series of policies on waste, recycling and resources will be launched at a later date.

The Green Transformation, which was launched at the recent Labour Party conference, focuses on preventing dangerous climate change, and improving air and water quality and biodiversity.

‘Recycling’ does not appear at all and ‘waste’ only in a brief section on plastics pollution.

A Labour spokesperson confirmed to MRW that the issues would be addressed separately.

Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman (pictured) and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said in a joint introduction: “Strong environmental policy is a matter of justice, and ensuring that communities can breathe clean air, drink clean water, afford a good diet and enjoy our countryside must be a priority for our party and our movement.”

They continued: “This document sets out Labour’s policies to tackle climate change, improve our environment and build a sustainable economy, along with the principles and priorities that underpin them.”

The brief mention of plastics pollution said Labour would “set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste”.

Shadow environment minister David Drew said Labour had not intended to cover recycling in the Green Transformation document and did not indicate when this would be done.

He said: “We have been working on [waste and recycling] for some time and these parts were never part of this particular launch.”

Drew has previously told MRW he is working on a policy that would be ”much more sceptical” towards incineration because it “crowds out” recycling. 

Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: “It is very strange that Labour’s environmental policy paper does not have a section on recycling or mention anything to do with resource efficiency.

“With so much focus on our sector right now, and the resources and waste strategy due to be unveiled soon, you would have thought recycling and resource efficiency would have been high on Labour’s agenda.”


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