Laybrook

Earlier this week we received the fantastic news that the proposed landfill site at Laybrook won't be going ahead.

I'm delighted that Cory has decided to withdraw its planning application and to look at alternatives to landfill. 

It's a huge relief to my constituents in Thakeham, Ashington and West Chiltington who would have had to endure the noise, smell, flies and litter that landfill brings.

This was a great example of people power in action.  I'd especially like to congratulate Thakeham Village Action, under the determined leadership of Jean Locker, who ran a superb campaign which energised the community. 

Francis Maude and I were proud to join the protest march last year and recently to help hand over a petition signed by 5,000 people objecting to the plans.

Dumping rotting rubbish into holes in the ground is the most environmentally damaging way to dispose of waste.  We should be increasing recycling and using waste for energy and materials.

While Britain will still be landfilling a quarter of our municipal waste in ten years' time, the Netherlands already landfills less than 2 per cent.

So I welcome Cory's statement that they will "consider opportunities for new waste management infrastructure" - although I still don't think a peaceful rural location like Laybrook is suitable for so many heavy lorry movements every day.  We will cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

It is good news that companies are seeing the value of going green.

On Monday I met with Sir Stuart Rose and his team at Marks & Spencer to talk about his company's eco policy, ‘Plan A'.

Over the past year this has diverted 20,000 tonnes of waste from landfill and cut the company's CO2 emissions by 40,000 tonnes.

Often the green agenda has been portrayed as one that's about cost, taxes or regulation.   But ‘Plan A' was voluntary and it has saved M&S £50 million through efficiencies.  Using resources more efficiently can save money.  We can be lean and green.

Michelle Taylor