National Waste Strategy

Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:41 am on 14 June 2007.

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Photo of Claire Baker Claire Baker Labour 11:41, 14 June 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive how it intends to implement the national waste strategy. (S3O-213)

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

We are committed to moving towards a zero waste Scotland, which would include higher levels of recycling, greater emphasis on waste prevention and learning from other countries that have successfully moved in that direction.

Photo of Claire Baker Claire Baker Labour

I am sure that the minister appreciates the scale of the problem, with a typical household in Fife alone producing more than 1 tonne of waste every year. I am sure that he appreciates the need for clarity for local authorities on how they progress with their waste plans. Does the position set out to local authorities in March 2007 on the funding of waste treatment infrastructure still prevail or is it under review? If it is under review, what is the timescale for completion?

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

I am currently looking at the position. My thinking will of course be influenced by the forthcoming spending review, which will be very influential in this context. The local authorities in the member's region have an excellent record in household recycling. The national average is 25 per cent, but Fife Council has managed to recycle and compost 29.7 per cent of waste, Perth and Kinross Council has managed 33.3 per cent, Stirling Council has managed 32.5 per cent and Clackmannanshire Council has managed 40.2 per cent. I am sure that we all want to pay tribute to the member's local authorities, which are doing an extremely good job in the current circumstances.

Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

The cabinet secretary will be aware that many councils do not collect the full range of recyclables from our homes and our rural communities. Does he agree that there could be further dramatic increases in recycling rates if all homes that are served by public roads had household collections for all recyclables?

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

I agree that reaching that position would greatly help our recycling rates. We are committed to undertaking trials in the collection of food waste from households. Many local authorities in Scotland do not collect plastics. We must examine all such issues to identify how we can intervene to help councils make progress in that area.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

We move on to question 6, which is from Bob Doris. [ Interruption. ] I apologise. The next question is Bill Butler's question 5; I was getting a little ahead of myself.