HC Deb 19 July 1995 vol 263 cc1660-1
15. Mr. Merchant

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made towards the Government's target of recycling 25 per cent. of reusable household waste. [33387]

Mr. Clappison

Measures in the Environment Bill will significantly boost the recycling of household waste.

Mr. Merchant

I congratulate my hon. Friend, and it is good to see him where he belongs—on the Front Bench. Does he agree that the proposed landfill tax will boost significantly the minimisation and recycling of household, industrial and community waste?

Mr. Clappison

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, and he is absolutely right about the impact of the landfill tax. The tax will improve the minimisation of waste, and will also aid the recovery and recycling of waste. What is more, it will do so without imposing regulations or extra costs on business. It is a green measure which justifiably bolsters the green reputation of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. William O'Brien

Will the Minister explain how he knows more about the recycling and saving of waste in the packaging industry than the people who operate in that industry? Will he accept that the proposals from V-WRAG—the Val Pak working representative advisory group—which are supported by 50 companies in the packaging industry, are better than the proposals made by his Department? Will he accept those proposals, and let us get on with salvaging waste in the packaging industry?

Mr. Clappison

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is not doing justice to the ambition that industry has shown to assist in the process of waste minimisation and the recovery and recycling of waste. The Government will listen to what the industry has said, but it has set ambitious targets and the hon. Gentleman has not done justice to the industry.

Mr. Clifton-Brown

Will my hon. Friend take into account what the industry's representative body, V-WRAG, has had to say about the implementation of the European packaging directive? Will he look carefully to see if a multi-point implementation is better than a single-point implementation?

Mr. Clappison

Yes, my hon. Friend is right. It is important to listen to the industry, and we shall do so.