Support for the European Union Circular Economy Package that looks set to be axed has been given by MPs, businesses such as IKEA and Kingfisher as well as major organisations.
Labour MP and Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle outlined her party’s support for the package, and also the also threatened air quality proposals, in a letter to Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss in which she asked why the UK had not signed a letter in support of it from 11 EU environment ministers.
Maria Eagle wrote: “Air Pollution is a serious public health issue facing our towns and cities, tens of thousands of lives are lost each year. It is a problem that requires urgent Government action and continued support with guidance from the European Commission. Similarly, the need to increase recycling rates and boost jobs and growth in the UK are best served by support at the European level.
“I am therefore deeply concerned that the UK Government has been silent while the European Commission is considering whether to end two environmental packages that would encourage both cleaner air and support for the circular economy.
“Last week key business stakeholders, leading environmental charities and eleven EU Member State Ministers and European Parliament Group Leaders wrote to the President and Vice-President of the European Commission to support the Circular Economy Package and Air Quality Package. I would like to understand why you chose not to sign the letter.
“I want to reaffirm the Labour Party’s support for both the Air Quality and Circular Economy packages. I urge you to issue a clear statement in support of these two EU packages that not only offer vital protection to the people and the environment, but provide long-term benefits to the UK economy.”
Secondary Commodity Markets 2015 – the conference for buyers and sellers of recyclable materials takes place on 3 March 2015 in London. Find out more here
Cross-party MPs from the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) have also written to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urging for the two packages to be retained in the European Commission work programme.
EAC chair Joan Walley wrote: “While I appreciate that the Commission is “seeking to respond to Member States’ calls for a priority focus on jobs and growth”, it would be short-sighted to throw out measures that could deliver billions of euros in resource productivity gains in a dash to boost short-term growth.”
While a letter published in the Telegraph newspaper and on its website from business leaders and trade associations called on UK Ministers to “send a signal” to Jean-Claude Juncker that the Circular Economy Package should be retained.
The letter said: “The European Commission will vote today on its work programme for 2015, which may remove support for the Circular Economy Package. This concerns resources and recycling. It offers huge potential for job creation, resource security, environmental protection and economic growth in Britain and the rest of Europe and abandoning it would be short-sighted.
“There is a great deal of support for the package from many sectors, and the World Economic Forum has suggested developing the circular economy would save $1 trillion a year.”
The letter was signed by representatives from IKEA, Group, Kingfisher, Unilever, Marks and Spencer, EEF – the Manufacturers’ Organisation, Friends of the Earth, ESA, CIWM, Viridor, Green Alliance, Resource Association, ADBA, Sinvestec, Aldersgate Group, Environmental Industries Commission, REA and Veolia UK.