County's green efforts praised

FOUR Suffolk authorities have today spoken of their confidence in beating government recycling targets. Suffolk Coastal District Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, and Babergh District Council are already meeting, or exceeding, their individual recycling targets set by the government.

FOUR Suffolk authorities have today spoken of their confidence in beating government recycling targets.

Suffolk Coastal District Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, and Babergh District Council are already meeting, or exceeding, their individual recycling targets set by the government.

And although Ipswich Borough Council narrowly missed meeting its target of 18 per cent in 2003-2004 officers today forecasted it would recycle 23pc of rubbish in 2004-2005.

Matthew Ling, head of environment strategy at Ipswich Borough Council said: "We are currently rolling out the blue bin scheme right across the town, this will have a significant impact on recycling figures for next year."

Mr Ling said his department has received several calls from Ipswich residents asking when the blue bins will be available.

By Summer 2005 all residents should have access to a blue bin.

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Mr Ling added: "We are very pleased with the way it is going. We are now in the situation where people are excepting and wanting to recycle."

Hadleigh-based Babergh District Council was one of two singled out in East Anglia by cabinet minister Margaret Beckett for making an 'outstanding leap' in recycling.

Latest figures, published by Defra, show that residents in Babergh District Council and Broadland District Council, in Norfolk, recycled 25pc of their household waste in 2003-2004, such as paper, glass, cans and plastic, an increase of 14pc from figures in 2002-2003.

Mrs Beckett, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) said: "This is great news.

"England looks certain to meet its national recycling and composting target, the first time such a target has ever been met.

"While there is still a lot of work to do to raise levels of recycling even higher, this is a strong indication that the nation is adjusting to more sustainable waste practices.

Mrs Beckett added: "This has been brought about through the commitment of the local councils, a fantastic response from the public and careful targeted Government support."

A government spokesman said the figures also show residents in the area controlled by St Edmundsbury Borough Council are recycling 35pc of their household waste, and Forest Heath District Council residents are recycling 33pc of household waste.

Gifford Lewis, environmental health manager for Babergh District Council said the authority was now recycling 35pc of domestic waste.

He said: "Our target for 2005-2006 is 21pc and we are already exceeding that. We are very pleased to receive national endorsement for what we are doing from the secretary of state."

Mr Lewis said the participation of householders was a crucial factor in the amount of waste recycled by the district's 36,900 homes.

Suffolk Coastal District Council has 53,000 homes, 100pc of which have green crates for paper recycling which are collected fortnightly.

A spokesman for the council said Suffolk Coastal was currently recycling 30pc of waste, in line with its government target.

He said: "We have set ourselves a target of 32pc for 2005. We are greatly expanding our recycling programme in April bring our garden waste brown bins to another 20,000 homes with a fortnightly collection. We are hopeful we will meet or even exceed our target."

From its headquarters in Needham Market Mid Suffolk District Council is already beating its government target of 16pc.

Senior recycling support officer Peter Harvey said: "We have had the twin bin scheme since 2002 and it has gone extremely well. The public is more and more aware of the need for recycling.

Mr Harvey said the council is planning to introduce the scheme to about 3,300 households in March. Coddenham, Ofton and Ringshall are among the villages earmarked for the expansion of the scheme.

He added: "By the end of the year we are planning to introduce the scheme to a further 2,000 households in Walsham-le-Willows, Wortham, Wickham Skeith, Somersham and Earl Stonham. "We hope to exceed our current domestic waste recycling rate of 19pc in 2005."

But Friends of the Earth recycling campaigner Georgina Bloomfield said we should be recyling more.

She said: "We are delighted that many local councils have improved their recycling. But this country still languishes a long way behind many of our European neighbours. The Government must set more ambitious recycling targets.

"We should be recycling at least 50pc of our rubbish by 2010, an achievable target that would give us a recycling record to be proud of."

What do you think? Should we recycle more? Are local authorities doing enough? Do we have too many bins already? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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