Environment secretary Michael Gove warns time is running out

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
Photo credit: Kew Gardens

Environment secretary Michael Gove has warned that time is running out to make the difference we need for our planet.

In a speech at Kew Gardens on Tuesday, Gove warned that there is a political, moral and economic need to act on climate change.

He addressed key areas of the upcoming Environment Bill including waste, ocean pollution, biodiversity and water.

Gove voiced his support for an ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme (DRS) and a fully-fledged producer responsibility scheme.

He said: “We want producers to pay for the environmental consequences of their processes and production methods – covering the entire costs of dealing with problem packaging.

“At the moment, producers currently pay only 10% of the cost of household waste. We will make them responsible for 100% of the net cost incurred in dealing with their waste.”

Repeated industry calls for standardisation across collections and labelling have also been listened to, given Gove called for a ‘consistent and simplified approach' to recycling with clearer labelling on products.

He also promised to work with business to make DRS as effective as possible.

He added: “WRAP has persuasively argued that the deeper that deposit return scheme drills into the value chain- extending to cover full life cycle costs under producer responsibility, the clearer the financial and social signal will be to recycle.”

Jacob Hayler, ESA executive director, welcomed Gove’s ambition but questioned his rationale.

He said: “We are surprised that the Secretary of State has made such a decisive conclusion on its scope when much of the detail of the new producer responsibility scheme has yet to be developed and agreed.

“It is important that interactions between a DRS and a new producer responsibility scheme are fully analysed to ensure that all parts of the system work together to achieve the best environmental outcomes.

It could be Gove’s last speech as environment secretary following an inevitable cabinet reshuffle once a new Prime Minister has been chosen.

The two leadership candidates were praised by Gove for the environmental credentials.

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