The UK Environmental Strategy After the General Election on 8th June 2017
On Thursday (8th June 2017), the UK public will choose the party to lead the UK for the next 5 years. On the same day, Skip Hire Magazine will be staging the Waste 17 exhibition at Old Trafford in Manchester and so what are the parties saying about recycling and the environment?
The Labour Party
Even though the UK will be leaving the EU, the Labour Party has pledged to protect environmental laws presently in place. Many of the environmental regulations presently in place are derived from European legislation including the Waste Framework, Packaging and Landfill Directive.
The directive requires all EU member states to take the necessary measures to ensure waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering human health or causing harm to the environment and includes permitting, registration and inspection requirements.
The directive also requires member states to take appropriate measures to encourage firstly, the prevention or reduction of waste production and its harmfulness and secondly the recovery of waste by means of recycling, re-use or reclamation or any other process with a view to extracting secondary raw materials, or the use of waste as a source of energy. The directive’s requirements are supplemented by other directives for specific waste streams.
The Conservative Party
The Conservative Party has announced a “comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling” plan to reduce litter. This includes a focus on improving the design of packaging and the publishing of a long-awaited 25-year environment plan, which was due to be launched by DEFRA earlier this year. Whereas Labour intend to continue with the existing EU legislation, the Conservatives are looking to adopt a more selective approach to “chart how we will improve our environment as we leave the EU”.
The Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats have set out a number of resource policy pledges. They would reinstate the landfill tax escalator and review a tax on incineration. A Cabinet Committee on Sustainability would be established to ensure that strategies were followed and targets are met. They are the only party to openly publish targets, including a 70% recycling figure in England and the extension of food waste collections to at least 90% of homes. They also plan to introduce a 5p charge on disposable coffee cups.
The Scottish National Party SNP
In Scotland, the SNP already have a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020. This will be achieved by further developing renewable energy sources, a key pledge of their campaign.
As would be expected, UKIP would not adopt all EU legislation and instead “promote evidence-based environment schemes” in a new Environmental Protection Act. This Act would review all EU environmental legislation with the aim of keeping those which have enhanced the UK environment.
There is no doubt that the party who are chosen to govern the UK for the next 5 years will face a number of environmental challenges. Only time will tell if the rhetoric will be followed by action.
Bunting Magnetics and Master Magnets are the headline sponsors of Waste 17 and will have working metal separation equipment on their stand at the show.