During a parliamentary debate yesterday (18 May), Labour MP for Copeland, Jamie Reed, accused the Government of “ongoing inertia over waste policy” and said that on-going disputes between Defra and the Department for Communities & Local Government were partly to blame for this.

This was hotly denied by Defra’s environment minister, Richard Benyon, who said the two departments were working together very closely. “We have a good, sensible, hard-working relationship,” he claimed.

Reed also asked the minister to confirm that the Waste Review will be more than a “series of case studies” and if it will replace England’s 2007 waste strategy.

“If so, what is the time scale?” he asked. “Local authorities, businesses, communities and individuals require certainty on this, and they are not receiving it.”

He further pressed the minister on whether the Review will set out recycling targets for local authorities. “If recycling targets for England are to be abandoned, will he assure us that the UK will meet the [waste framework] directive’s minimum target?”

Benyon would not be drawn on several of the points raised, including recycling targets, but replied that Reed was “rapidly running out of ideas with which to attack the Government, because each time he does so we cut him off at the pass.”

He added: “The Government is reviewing all aspects of waste policy and delivery in England, including how we can encourage waste prevention and reuse.”

Maxine Perella

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