Letters: We need a real strategy when it comes to tackling our plastic waste

Cat Smith has written in about the countrys recycling programme
Cat Smith has written in about the countrys recycling programme

This week's mailbag includes letters on recycling, and the BBC

We need to invest in recycling waste

I’d like to respond to the open letter written to me recently regarding the very poor residential recycling schemes run by Wyre Borough Council in the Fleetwood area (‘Lack of recycling is unbelievable’, Readers’ Views, June 12).

I, too, am frustrated that so little progress has been made when we know the devastating impact that single use plastics and non-degradable packaging has on our planet.

Even more disappointing is the revelation this week that the Conservative Government has told Europe we’ll be unable to support an EU-wide target of recycling 65 per cent of all municipal waste by 2035.

Under current EU rules in the Waste Framework Directive, member states are expected to recycle 50 per cent of municipal waste by next year – that’s everyday rubbish thrown away by the public and by businesses.

The current recycling rate for England is 45.2 per cent, compared with 46.3 per cent in Northern Ireland, and 43.5 per cent in Scotland. In contrast, the Labour administration in Wales, as well as recycling packaging and plastics, is collecting food waste from all households and their recycling rate is an impressive 57.6 per cent.

Internal Defra analysis from July 2017 estimates increasing the UK’s recycling rate to 65 per cent would save the waste sector billions of pounds by 2030 and could save thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions by 2100.

Labour is calling for a comprehensive strategy to reduce waste, improve UK waste and recycling infrastructure and bring forward a plastic bottle return scheme to help tackle the scourge of plastic waste.

Since the Tories came to power, recycling rates have slumped and the UK continues to export large amounts of recyclable materials to countries that have little or no waste infrastructure – which is how a lot of plastic ends up in our oceans.

We need a truly comprehensive waste and recycling strategy that tackles our lack of domestic infrastructure to deal with what we throw away – as well as further action to reduce waste at source and improve levels of recycling.

The Tories need to end the crippling austerity programme imposed on local councils so they can invest in reuse and recycling schemes to tackle this plastic pollution and food waste crisis.

Cat Smith

MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Better reasons for TV licence anger

While I agree the withdrawal of free TV licences for the country’s less well-off pensioners is a disgrace, correspondents on the subject have been so focused of criticising the BBC as to miss two rather more pertinent points.

Firstly it was the government who withdrew funding for the scheme, leaving the BBC to carry the can which they must have known the corporation would not be able to keep up.

But, more importantly, if state pension levels were more in tune with the actual cost of living we would not need to be having this debate in the first place.

Mr BJ McCann

via email

The Beeb wastes money on location

Why does the BBC send its weather presenters all over the country to give you a weather forecast?

Just last week, BBC Breakfast weather presenter Carol Kirkwood was at Royal Ascot wearing different hats and outfits.

The whole thing must have cost the BBC a pretty penny, plus the travel and acommadation costs for all staff must be huge.

Meanwhile, we will end up losing our free TV licences for the over-75s, thanks to the corporation.