It's time to stop sending waste to landfill

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has stressed the need to end the landfilling of waste and called for new incentives to encourage households to go green.

Mr Herbert was speaking today (20 July) at the launch of a new report on waste by the Policy Exchange think tank.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said that the UK is lagging behind its EU partners when it comes to waste disposal, and criticised the current approach of just "dumping it in holes in the ground and then forgetting about it."

Mr Herbert said the lack of progress had been particularly evident in London which is set to export nearly two million tonnes of waste to landfill sites in West Sussex over the next 15 years.

Whilst applauding the ‘green' programme introduced by Mayor Boris Johnson since he took office last year, Mr Herbert described London's record on recycling over the past 10 years as "lacklustre".

Mr Herbert warned: "This addiction to landfill has not only been immensely damaging for the environment; it has also meant that we have wasted valuable resources by burying them under a mountain of rotting rubbish."

Mr Herbert rejected the Government's decision to penalise the public through bin taxes, describing it as "fundamentally misguided".

And the MP stressed: "It is time for a new approach that incentivises the public to do the right thing, regards waste not as a problem but as a potential resource, and drives forward towards the goal of a zero waste society."

Mr Herbert's comments coincide with the start of a public consultation on plans to dispose of 4.7 million tonnes of rubbish in a proposed new landfill site at Laybrook Brickworks near Thakeham.

Campaigners from Thakeham Village Action are urging local residents to make their views known to West Sussex County Council before the deadline in September.

At a fundraising event at Knepp Castle in May, Mr Herbert pledged that he would continue to give his strong backing to villagers in Thakeham and Small Dole in their battle against landfill.

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Notes for Editors

1. For a transcript of Nick Herbert's speech, visit [link to follow]

2. For a copy of the Policy Exchange report entitled ‘A Wasted Opportunity: Getting the most out of Britain's Bins', visit http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/publications/publication.cgi?id=127.

3. For the website of Thakeham Village Action (TVA), who are campaigning against the proposed landfill site at Laybrook Brickworks near Thakeham, visit http://www.thakehamvillageaction.org.uk/.

4. For details of TVA's campaign, visit http://www.nolaybrooklandfill.co.uk/.

5. For details of the planning application for a landfill site at Laybrook Brickworks, visit http://eplanning.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/loadFullDetails.do?aplId=1058.

6. Following a ‘waste summit' organised by Nick Herbert last year, the Chanctonbury Landfill Action Group (CLAG), Thakeham Village Action (TVA) and the Small Dole Action Group (SDAG) joined forces to form a new campaigning organisation called Zero Landfill. For further details, visit http://www.nolaybrooklandfill.co.uk/pages/zerolandfill/.

Ed Barker