Shadow environment secretary Hilary Benn has attacked the Government’s waste and recycling policy, claiming that it has made it acceptable to throw waste in landfill when it could be recycled.
Speaking at the Labour party’s annual conference in Manchester today (September 30), Mr Benn also questioned the government’s claim to be the “greenest ever”.
“Greenest government ever, Mr Cameron?” he asked. “No that’s just empty words from a government devoid of optimism.” And, he contrasted this with the “huge” increase in recycling that he said the previous Labour administration had achieved when it was in power, as well as its introduction of the subsidy for small scale renewables, the Feed-in Tariff.
“We did a lot in government when we had the chance,” he claimed, adding that “every one of these was once just a dream, but it was our values and our politics that made them happen”. Mr Benn, who was secretary of state for the environment between June 2007 and June 2010, also used his speech to criticise the coalition government’s approach to the Feed-in Tariff and proposed Renewable Heat Incentive – both of which could benefit waste-to-energy plants such as anaerobic digestion facilities.
He said the current administration was “a government that claims to be the greenest ever but is undermining confidence in Feed-in Tariffs, dithering on the Renewable Heat Incentive [and] says it’s alright to go on throwing waste into landfill when it could be recycled.”
Outlining what he thought needed to be done to build a “fair” and “just” world, Mr Benn said “we need to invest in renewables”, noting that a sustainable agenda would create jobs and “give life to new industries that can both lead and world and lead the change we must make”.