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Recycling sector urged to step up lobbying efforts

An MP has told recycling industry stakeholders that “there has never been a more important time” for the sector to pull together and lobby politicians.

Greg Mulholland, Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, accused local and national governments of complacency, saying there was not sufficient analysis and scrutiny of recycling policy.

His comments at the Resource Association parliamentary reception follow calls from other political figures and trade bodies for the industry to increase its lobbying activity.

Mulholland

Mulholland

Mulholland, left, said: “It’s important that we reach out to MPs across the country and from all parties. There has never been more important a time to have a strong, single unified voice for the recycling sector.

“Central government allows some decentralisation and that’s right. But I don’t think there’s enough listening to experts and to our pioneers.

“MPs and government and civil servants all need to be listening because I think as a country we need to do better and as far I’m concerned you’re the people who need to tell us how to do it better.”

This echoes recent calls from other political figures for the recycling industry to be more vocal.

At an All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group event in November, Labour MP Alan Whitehead said the recycling industry was “not a sector that works particularly well in the lobbying process”.

Chris Huhne, former energy secretary who is now a strategic adviser for the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA), recently called on plant operators to invite their local MPs to their facilities to engage them in the technology.

But speaking to MRW at the trade body’s national conference, Huhne said there was a challenge in lobbying as only 10 MPs in Parliament were “really engaged” in climate change issues.

He said these MPs included Whitehead and former Labour shadow resources minister Barry Gardiner, who has now moved to work on the party’s energy brief.

Huhne described anaerobic digestion as the “most Tory friendly” renewable energy. But another ADBA spokesperson told MRW they were wary to use the word “green” when talking to politicians as they assumed it meant expensive.

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