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Recycling rates are falling – we must act


EMPTIES Ray Cobbett, right is worried about falling recycling rates


Published in the Portsmouth News on the 16th May 2017

By Ray Cobbett, from Havant and East Hampshire Friends of the Earth.

He urges people to think about the environment before casting their vote in the general election.

RECYCLING is more important than ever.

The most recent figures from the government show that, after a period of flatlining, average recycling rates have started to go down from almost 45 per cent in 2014 to 43.9 per cent in 2015.

Hampshire authorities continue to struggle to meet even the national average with the best of them, Eastleigh, achieving almost 41 per cent.

At the other end of the scale Portsmouth manages a paltry 22.7 per cent slightly below Gosport’s 23.5 per cent.

But some authorities, like South Oxfordshire and Surrey Heath, are up in the mid-sixties, so it can be done.

The EU had set a target for the UK at 50 per cent by 2020 but that was before Brexit so the outlook is now less clear.

Contributory factors for the decline include lower commodity prices for plastics, steel and pulp plus deep cuts to local authority funding affecting staff whose role was to promote the benefits of recycling.

Hampshire County Council claims it sends less household waste to landfill than most other authorities.

But it omits to mention how much of the waste stream is diverted into the county’s hungry incinerators, including spoiled batches of green material that could otherwise have been recycled.

Incineration is now described in more user-friendly language as ‘energy from waste’ but ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ is better.

The case for recycling remains stronger than ever as it helps to conserve the world’s dwindling stocks of raw materials, saves energy, reduces emissions and creates new jobs.

It’s also a process everybody can contribute to and thus play an active part in protecting the planet for future generations.

Hopefully, the government elected on the 8th of June will take recycling more seriously than the one it replaces.

New air quality plan published for consultation

Published on the GOV.UK website on the 5th May 2017


Options open for consultation to reduce nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities.

The government today published a draft plan to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK.

The options now open for consultation on reducing nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities are designed to reduce the impact of diesel vehicles, and accelerate the move to cleaner transport.

Local authorities are already responsible for improving air quality in their area, but will now be expected to develop new and creative solutions to reduce emissions as quickly as possible, while avoiding undue impact on the motorist.

The government is consulting on a range of measures that could be taken to mitigate the impact of action to improve air quality.

In line with the timetable directed by the Courts the government is seeking views on these proposals in advance of preparing its final plan for publication by 31st July. All final decisions will be taken by the incoming government.

This consultation will run until 15th June.

Oil company temporarily withdraws bid to drill for oil near Rowlands Castle

Site at Markwells Wood

Published on the Portsmouth News website on the 3rd May 2017

Story by Anna Khoo


An oil firm’s decision to withdraw heavily contested plans for exploratory drilling in Stoughton near Rowlands Castle has been hailed as a ‘victory’ for green campaigners and residents.

UK Oil and Gas made the announcement after it was refused a request for more time to respond to water contamination concerns upheld by the Environment Agency last month.

The planning application, which has attracted more than 2,000 objections.

In a statement to shareholders, UKOG executive chairman Stephen Sanderson said: ‘Given the potential sensitivity of the Markwells Wood site to the adjacent chalk groundwater system, it is in the public interest that this subject be investigated as thoroughly as possible prior to any further site activity.

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