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Waste Material

Volume 888: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider introducing incentives for the separation and collection of waste by local authorities.

I have asked the recently-appointed Waste Management Advisory Council to consider to what extent incentives may be needed. Some schemes already make a profit and I hope that we can help local authorities to make others do so too.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. May I urge upon the Government the setting up of an advertising scheme similar to that used for the litterbug campaign in the 1960s, to give people the incentive to carry their waste to central receptacles? I understand that that would be the only economic way of collecting much of the recoverable waste.

I agree with my ron. Friend about litter. I encourage all local authorities to make adequate provision for such waste receptacles so that litter need not deface our streets. However, I think that that is rather away from the original Question on recycling.

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that his Department is spending about £2 million to advertise the need for waste separation? Does he think that that can be justified at present? Should not the money be allocated to local authorities for other things that they need to do, bearing in mind that they cannot at present find the money to set up the expensive plants that are necessary?

I do not know where the hon. Gentleman gets his figures from. No such expenditure is being made or is envisaged.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the difficulties that many groups which collect waste paper are experiencing as a consequence of the cyclical nature of the waste paper industry? Will he investigate ways of alleviating the difficulties and giving local authorities further power to store and dispose of waste paper?

I am aware of the problems They arise in the main from voluntary organisations which, properly and public-spiritedly, decided when the market was high that they would have collection schemes and so on. Because of the cyclical nature of the market, the price is temporarily low. I am convinced that the answer is to have longterm agreements between local authorities and the industry. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry is considering Government assistance for storage by industry.

What progress has been made on an excess stock support scheme for waste paper? Proposals from the industry have been before the Government for many months.

That is more a question for my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Industry. It is one of the matters being considered by the Waste Management Advisory Council. We hope for a report within the next month or two.