Labour manifesto silent on recycling

The Labour Party has unveiled its manifesto in anticipation of the upcoming general election. The manifesto emphasises transitioning to a circular economy to reduce waste.

While the manifesto sheds little light on recycling or EPR changes affecting packaging, it does stand out for its commitment to devolving more power to local authorities. This move could potentially significantly impact the waste and recycling sector.

One noteworthy aspect of the manifesto is its inclusion of a section titled ‘Accelerating to net zero’, in which Labour pledges to align policy-making institutions with their goals to achieve net zero and meet carbon budgets.

The document also addresses the financial challenges faced by local government and proposes solutions such as providing councils with multiyear funding settlements and ending competitive bidding. However, there are concerns within the waste sector regarding the lack of competition in municipal waste services, as numerous contracts are up for renewal, exacerbating the financial strain on many councils.

Interestingly, the manifesto does not mention the stalled resource and waste sector reforms, which have been attributed to some of the existing challenges.

In contrast, the Lib Dems and Greens have presented more detailed plans for the circular economy. At the same time, the Tories have pledged to halt new energy-from-waste plants, raising questions about the legal implications of this decision.

Highlighting the importance of the circular economy, shadow environment minister Ruth Jones criticised Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for politicising recycling and promised to prioritise it.

Meanwhile, shadow environment secretary Steve Reed expressed the party’s commitment to learning from Wales’s successful recycling initiatives.

Notably, despite Wales’s impressive track record in recycling, the Plaid Cymru manifesto did not address recycling concerns.

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