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Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 27 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what initiatives he is taking to promote recycling by waste collection authorities.

The Environmental Protection Bill will require waste collection authorities to draw up and publish plans to recycle material in their area. The Bill also gives them a direct financial incentive to recycle waste rather than send waste for disposal.

As an important measure to encourage more recycling, will my hon. Friend consider passing credits from waste disposal authorities to waste collection authorities and also to voluntary bodies if they can come forward with viable schemes for waste recycling?

Yes, Sir. Under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Bill, waste collection authorities will receive financial credits for material that they recycle rather than send for disposal. Voluntary bodies and agencies may also receive such financial assistance. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State can require them to be paid the money if circumstances warrant it. That should be a powerful incentive to local recycling efforts.

Will the hon. Gentleman tell the House and the country what became of the initiative launched by the Prime Minister under the leadership of Richard Branson?

If the hon. Gentleman is referring to the voluntary initiatives on litter, those are still going ahead and are very successful.

My hon. Friend will be aware that Walworth road is in the borough of Southwark. Will he consider giving special assistance to that council to deal with the horrendous piles of waste paper along that road, much of which is entitled "Labour's Alternative to the Community Charge" and appears to have been recycled on a number of occasions already?

I believe that there is a lot of waste and rubbish around Walworth road which has already been recycled fairly extensively and it may be better now to send it for disposal.