We have set a national ambition to recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035. Councils will have a crucial role in meeting that target, and my Department will continue to work with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and local authorities across the country to improve recycling rates, reduce emissions and reduce the amount of waste ultimately sent to landfill.
Will my hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to our bin men and women, who worked magnificently throughout the covid crisis, even at the risk of contracting covid during the worst times of the pandemic, to keep us safe, actually collecting a bigger volume than usual? Is he aware that in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge and Malling, there are growing concerns about the management of the waste contract by the company Urbaser, with collections missed and roadside litter uncollected? What can he do to put pressure on that company to meet the performance standards that it has agreed with the local authorities?
I thank my right hon. Friend for his question and for the opportunity to pay tribute to our waste collectors and the work that they have done right across the country throughout the pandemic, keeping our communities clean and helping to keep them safe, too. Of course, it is for councils themselves to decide how best to meet their commitments and how to manage the performance of their contractors, but my right hon. Friend’s voice carries significant weight. I am sure that his point has been heard loud and clear. I hope that it is resolved as quickly as possible. I know that these are extremely important issues for his constituents and for residents across the country, and of course I am happy to meet him to discuss the matter in more detail.