A PUBLIC meeting held last week by Climate Action Ilkley and U3A Environment Forum heard that most of the UK government’s 2018 strategy to reduce waste has not yet been implemented.

This was the first in a series of events in this election year entitled Your World, Your Vote, and the meeting heard from Martin Hyde, Sustainability and Public Affairs manager at Alupro, who emphasised the environmental impact of waste in the UK, including contributing six per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions.

He said that a plastic packaging tax and a ban on plastic items such as straws and stirrers had been introduced successfully but a further six objectives are still ongoing.

The 33 attendees formed breakout discussion groups. Their key reactions were surprise and disappointment that progress had been so slow, particularly in the areas of making manufacturers responsible for the lifecycle of their products, or Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

EPR is to be introduced in 2025 but only for packaging, not for the products themselves. The groups also looked at the Right To Repair, which is being introduced for electrical products in the EU, but not here, and a Deposit Return Scheme for bottles and cans. This has operated for many years in countries such as Germany and Denmark.

Introduction here was due in 2025 but has been dogged by disagreement between Scotland and England over glass bottles. Rumours of a delay until 2028 have been circulating.

They also wanted to see simpler, consistent recycling across local authorities including kerbside collection of food waste. Participants were particularly concerned about the amount of food that is wasted. They would like to see this highlighted and incentives to reduce it seriously evaluated.

The next event is at the Clarke Foley Centre on Wednesday, March 20, at 7.30pm entitled Your Lives in Their Hands. The speaker will be Dr Noel Cass, of the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds.

The group says that tackling climate change will require changes in our lifestyles, not least our choices on flying and driving and Governments in the UK and around the world have avoided imposing or even incentivising such changes which they see as vote-losers.

Unless they do, the path to net zero will become untenable, they add. Dr Cass has found that when people fully understand the impact of their choices they could be content to change them, especially if government shifted investment priorities, for example towards public transport and active travel.

Climate Action Ilkley says this is a major issue in this election year and it is aiming to help citizens judge the choices which are, or should be, on offer.

The event is free and you can register on https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/your-lives-in-their-hands-tickets-850652844557?aff=oddtdtcreator