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Volume 517: debated on Thursday 4 November 2010

6. What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the likely effects of the outcome of the comprehensive spending review on the funding available to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. (21646)

We have worked closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government to understand cost pressures on local authority waste management over the spending review period and have taken these into account in the overall local government settlement. Significantly increased financial flexibility will free local authorities to allocate resources to meet their priorities and make continued efficiency savings while continuing to deliver our overall environmental goals for waste management.

Has the Secretary of State looked at last year’s estimate by the Waste and Resources Action Programme suggesting that there will be an additional 3 million tonnes of dried municipal recyclates circulating by 2015, while all-materials recycling facilities would be used up and 60% of local authority areas would have insufficient capacity? What has changed in this analysis since May 2010 other than her Department’s withdrawal of seven private finance initiative waste projects and the cutting of local authority budgets by 28%?

I invite the hon. Gentleman, who has a great interest in this subject, to look at some municipal waste statistics that have just been published this morning. The more recent data show three things: first, that we are producing less waste; secondly, that we are recycling more waste; and thirdly, therefore, that we are sending less to landfill. That is what makes us confident that the 2020 targets can be met with fewer publicly funded projects.