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Gove hasn’t given China waste ban “sufficient thought”

November 7, 2017

The UK Environment Secretary admitted this week that he “has no knowledge” of the impact China’s waste ban will have on the UK recycling industry.

According to a press release from The Recycling Association, Michael Gove, currently serving as the UK’s Environment Secretary, “admitted to the Environmental Audit Committee that he has no knowledge of the effects that the China situation will bring”.

When questioned by Labour MP, Anne McMorrin, about the impact of the ban on the UK recycling industry, Gove responded, “I don’t know what impact it will have…And to be honest, I haven’t given it sufficient thought.”

He went on to say that “the UK has the capacity to handle the waste meant for China” and revealed that he has no concerns, describing the UK’s waste sector as “energetic, innovative and ambitious.”

Kerry McCarthy, another Labour MP, asked Gove whether the UK Government “had any intention” of implementing “certain parts” of the EU Circular Economy package after Brexit. Gove responded with a simple “yes”.

In addition, Labour MP Joan Ryan brought up the The Recycling Association’s First Quality report, “launched at RWM in September”, which called for the UK to adopt the EU Circular Economy package and “apply new regulations on packaging design to help industries deal with the China ban.”

Ryan asked Gove to meet with the TRA “and discuss the actions in the report” but he declined to “commit to a meeting.”

TRA chief executive Simon Ellin said: “It is very disappointing that Michael Gove is not aware of the fundamental impacts that China’s ban will bring to the UK’s recycling and waste industry. As suggested by Labour MP Joan Ryan, we would like to meet and discuss these issues with Mr Gove to make him more aware of the situation. 

“However, we are heartened that some politicians have read TRA’s Quality First report, and unlike the Secretary of State, that the Environmental Audit Committee, chaired by Labour MP Mary Creagh, is taking this issue seriously.” 

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