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Wales to halve food waste by 2025 despite Brexit

Stuart Spear23/08/2017 - 15:09

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Wales has already cut household food waste by 12 per cent
Wales has already cut household food waste by 12 per cent

Food waste in Wales could be halved by 2025 under ambitious plans announced by Welsh environment minister Lesley Griffiths.

Ms Griffiths has announced a consultation on how to achieve a non-statutory target that aims to cut food waste levels by 50 per cent against a 2006/7 baseline.

She made the announcement before meeting her Scottish government counterpart Roseanna Cunningham last week to discuss the fall out post Brexit.

Most recent figures published by WRAP show that Wales has already made significant headway by cutting household food waste by 12 per cent between 2009 and 2015, nine per cent more than the rest of the UK.

Wales has outperformed the rest of the UK achieving a 63 per cent recycling rate in December 2016 – the third highest rate globally only to be beaten by Germany and Singapore.

‘In Wales, we are well on our way to achieving our ambitious target to become a zero-waste nation by 2050,’ said Ms Griffiths. ‘Recycling is at an all-time record high and our 60 per cent recycling rate is bettered by just two other countries in the world.

‘The consultation I intend to launch will examine the potential to halve food waste by 2025. It is an ambitious target but I know, from our recycling performance in recent years, when we work closely with local authorities and householders we can achieve results that make the world stand up and take notice.’

Scotland has set itself a target of cutting food waste by 33 per cent over the same period. Food waste currently costs Scotland around £1bn a year.Scotland has launched its Love Food Hate Waste campaign to encourage people to reduce waste in their homes while rolling out a doggy bag scheme in restaurants an introducing legislation requiring local authorities to provide food waste recycling points.

At the meeting in Scotland the two ministers discussed the implications of Brexit and its potential to hinder environmental initiatives. In particular talks focused on fears that the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 will in effect be a power grab from the devolved nations.

‘My message has been clear and consistent,’ said Ms Cunningham. ‘The Scottish Government will steadfastly adhere to its environmental commitments, despite the growing threat of a hard Brexit. That is why we are joining with our Welsh counterparts to urge the UK government to ditch this ill-conceived power grab.’

She added: ‘Imposing a UK-wide framework for the environment risks undermining the significant progress Scotland has made, which has seen us win international recognition for our work on climate change and the circular economy.’

The meeting heralded yesterday’s joint announcement between Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones that they would be working together to ensure Westminster does not use Brexit to grab already established devolved powers.  

The director WRAP Cymru, Peter Maddox welcomed the Welsh government’s plans. ‘This is one of the key issues of our generation,’ said Mr Maddox. ‘It is a complex challenge for which there is no single solution.

‘It is why we have called for everyone involved – governments, businesses and consumers – to play their part and unite in the food waste fight. At WRAP Cymru, and with our colleagues in the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, we are ready to support the Welsh Government in realising this ambitious goal.’

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