April 2005

London’s Environment Minister declares recycling is no longer an optional extra for local councils

London— Environment Minister Elliot Morley has confirmed that he will be turning the spotlight on councils with poor records of recycling and composting.

The Minister, speaking March 3 at the Local Government Chronicle’s conference in London on recycling, confirmed that he will be entering into talks with local authorities who have struggled to raise recycling and composting rates over 6 per cent by April 2003.

Defra officials will also be contacting a number of other authorities whose performance continues to give cause for concern.

The councils will be expected to show to the Minister robust evidence of any improvement made, or their future plans and demonstrate commitment to improvement.

Elliot Morley said: “Recycling is no longer an optional extra. While most councils are working incredibly hard to improve their performance there are a few councils who repeatedly achieve extremely disappointing rates of recycling and composting. This has got to change and is not acceptable”.

“Defra understands that local authorities face challenging times to improve their waste services and adopt more sustainable waste practices. Their role in making this transition is vital. Which is why I am keen to offer support, guidance and advice to help ease to help ease that process.”

Morley’s announcement followed an earlier announcement by Mrs. Beckett several weeks ago that England was poised to meet its target to recycle or compost 17 per cent of household waste.

She confirmed that recycling in single figures is now “unacceptable” and that Morley would be personally engaging with all councils with “poor performance records”.

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