Councils praised for recycling rates

By Craig RobinsonCOUNCILS from across the region have been praised after new figures revealed they had all improved the amount of waste they recycled.

By Craig Robinson

COUNCILS from across the region have been praised after new figures revealed they had all improved the amount of waste they recycled.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published yesterday the annual recycling league tables for councils.

They showed St Edmundsbury Borough Council was the fourth best in England with 35% of households recycling waste such as paper, glass, cans and plastic in 2003-4, compared to a target of 33%.


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A council spokesman said: “We confidently expect our official recycling rate to be much higher next year, unofficially we estimate we are running at around 50% from kerbside and bringside recycling.”

Jeremy Farthing, the council's portfolio holder for environment, added: “I would like to thank everyone for embracing the new recycling scheme so enthusiastically. We knew this was something that our residents wanted and we've worked hard to help them make it work.”

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Babergh District Council also performed well and was in the top 10 most improved authorities with a rate of 25%, an increase of 14% from 2002-2003.

Gifford Lewis, the council's environmental health manager, said: “On behalf of the householders that have taken up our schemes I am very pleased that we have received national recognition.

“The response from all residents has been excellent and in fact we have upped the recycling rate to nearly 35% in recent months.

“I'm very pleased because all the initiatives have been implemented without government funding and in partnership with other authorities. It's important that we keep this going and carry on improving in the future.”

Other local authorities in East Anglia to perform well were Forest Heath District Council with a rate of 33% - the sixth highest in the country - Suffolk County Council with 26% and Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council, both with rates of 25%.

Julian Swainson, portfolio holder for sustainable environment, planning and transport for Suffolk County Council, said: “Obviously the results are very pleasing, but I think it's a case of we've got to try harder.

“It's important that we don't just pack up, but that we keep the pressure going and try to get more and more people to recycle.

“As a result we've been working hard to develop recycling facilities in the county with improvements to household recycling centres and separate bins provided for different types of rubbish. I suppose the ultimate aim however is to get people to waste less.”

Although the UK is set to reach its national target of 17% of households recycling for 2003-2004, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett warned that under-performing authorities would be targeted because single figure recycling rates were “no longer acceptable”.

Georgina Bloomfield, from Friends of the Earth, added: “We are delighted that many local councils have improved their recycling, but this country still languishes a long way behind many of our European neighbors.

“The Government must have more ambitious recycling targets and set a rate of 50% by 2010.”

craig.robinson@eadt.co.uk

Local Authority Recycling and Composting Rate 2003/04 (%) Target for 2003/2004 (%) Increase since 2002/03 (%)

Suffolk

Babergh 25 14 14

Forest Heath 33 33 5

Ipswich 17 10 2

Mid Suffolk 19 16 10

St Edmundsbury 35 33 5

Waveney 13 10 7

Suffolk County Council 26 28 5

Essex

Braintree 21 14 7

Chelmsford 22 10 6

Colchester 25 28 4

Maldon 18 22 2

Tendring 15 16 4

Essex County Council 25 22 2

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