Matt Miles, Chairman of waste management and recycling broker 707, discusses environmental issues and the General Election.
As election fever reaches a crescendo, it seems not a day goes by without another policy announcement from the UK’s political parties. Given the rhetoric about our mountain of debt and the need to cut costs, it’s sad to note that waste and the environment is not registering as a significant issue in the media and is sadly gaining little cut through as part of the election debate.
The last election saw Cameron at the North Pole and a whole host of other attempts to attract the ‘environmental vote’ from all parties – so what has happened? It seems there has been a downgrading in the importance of environmental issues as we head to May 7th.
In fact the Green Party’s appearance on the televised leader’s debates has, it seems to me, led to more focus on the party’s mainstream fiscal policies, rather than their commitment to the environment.
We have all heard the many promises from parties including support for the Green Investment Bank, pledges for a reduction in omissions to support the battle against climate change, and specifically, The Green Party pledges to increase spending to support recycling and waste disposal. The key question is, how can we push these issues higher up the political and mainstream media agendas, driving real change and action from a new government?
It is great, and I for one applaud our sector’s media for highlighting the pertinent issues, but we as an industry also have a duty to raise the bar, stand on our soap boxes and use our social media presence to ensure fiscal and legislative support for our sector’s goals. Only with a collaborative effort will we be heard and increase the interest and conversation around environmental issues, putting them firmly on the political agenda.
Done right, effective recycling and waste policies can support economic growth and act as a powerful resource for the economy. Of course we are realists and it comes down to priorities and who gets the keys to Number 10; but it’s vital we don’t rest on our laurels as the next five year’s of policy decisions are at stake. As a sector, we must not lose the platform to reuse and protect our precious resources and only if we succeed in profiling the debate today, can we hope to protect our tomorrow.