Michael Gove admits lack of knowledge on China import ban

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
Environment secretary Michael Gove

Environment secretary Michael Gove has admitted to the Environmental Audit Committee he has no knowledge of the effects that the potential Chinese important ban on plastics and packaging will bring to the UK recycling sector.

Capacity problems in the UK’s waste sector were raised by a number of MPs, including Labours MPs Joan Ryan, Anne McMorrin and Kerry McCarthy.

Gove said: “I don’t know what impact it will have…and to be honest, I haven’t given it sufficient thought.”

The environment secretary did however say that the UK had the capacity to handle the waste meant for China, and that he doesn’t have any worries because the waste industry is “energetic, innovative and ambitious.”

Simon Ellin, chief executive of The Recycling Association, 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."

Gove also told the committee that Defra was consulting on a possible new body to enforce and uphold environmental laws once the UK is no longer part of the EU.

Shaun Spire, chair of Greener UK and executive of Green Alliance, said: “Any new organisation will need adequate resources for effective governance.

"It will have to be fully independent of government, with statutory power, and accountable to the relevant parliament or assembly.”

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