In a speech at Labour’s annual conference on Thursday, Hilary Benn, shadow environment secretary, made sharp criticisms of the current Government’s policies in reference to waste disposal and several other topics including the Feed-in Tariff. He said that their claim to be “the greenest government ever” was unfounded and called it “empty words” from a government that he says is “dithering” on crucial subjects.
Mr. Benn cited the government’s policy on waste and recycling, which he said allows waste products that could and should be recycled to be thrown into landfills. Benn also attacked the administration for abolishing the Sustainable Development Commission and for planning funding cuts that would cause negative effects on farming, national parks and the environment in general.
The former secretary of state for the environment also said that the coalition government is not supporting the Feed-in Tariff, which encourages the expansion of small-scale renewable energy sources such as solar panels on residential roofs and community heat and power sources generated from waste products.
Benn compared the present government’s policies unfavourably with those of the former administration, claiming that the previous Labour party policies “did a lot” for the environment in terms of the increase in recycling and the introduction of the Feed-in Tariff, which is now being undermined because of the lack of action on the part of current ministers.
The government’s Spending Review, to be announced October 20, is meant to set out the spending plans for 2011 through 2015, and there is much speculation about how those plans will affect the Feed-in Tariffs as well as the Renewable Heat Incentive that has been proposed. Trade bodies in the industry are already urging the government not to cut funds for new technologies that support renewable energy sources.