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Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Environment Agency, (b) Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee and (c) Local Government Association on market conditions in the recycling sector. (242702)

DEFRA has maintained close contact with a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the situation with regards to the markets for recyclable materials.

Based on these discussions, our priorities are:

to further promote waste minimisation;

to maintain public confidence that recycling is worthwhile to ensure continuity of collection systems for recyclables;

to focus on producing high quality marketable recyclables;

to ensure any storage of recyclables do not undermine the environment or public health or the recyclability of those materials;

where the traditional markets for recyclables have contracted, to encourage the most sustainable recovery and disposal options—i.e. landfill as a last resort; and

to avoid actions which exacerbate the situation while markets stabilise.

Officials continue to work with the Environment Agency, the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee and the Local Government Association in order to monitor market developments.

On 17 December I met representatives of the packaging industry.