Nick Herbert: Impressed by company’s zero landfill policy

On Friday, I visited Kate’s Cakes, a highly successful business based in Ashington. Leading supermarkets sell their produce, and the other day I realised that their cakes are even for sale here in the House of Commons!

I was impressed to hear about their ‘zero to landfill’ policy. They ensure that all their waste is recycled rather than dumped into holes in the ground. They began the practice in November last year, and just three months later they had reached their target.

Surplus food waste is collected from the factory and converted into animal feed for pigs. Plastics and paper are recycled, and anything left over is incinerated for energy generation in Newhaven.

This is not just good for the environment. The profits from selling their waste provide extra revenue for the company.

We should welcome any approach that will lead to the closure of the landfill sites that scar our countryside. They have been a big problem in my constituency over the years.

Fortunately we saw off the proposals for landfill sites at Rock Common and Thakeham, and the tip at Small Dole, which caused nuisance to local residents for years, is mercifully now closed.

This still leaves the Lidsey site in the south-west of my constituency which has been causing a great deal of aggravation to people living in Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate.

Over the past year the bad weather has caused an appalling smell to come from the site. Residents have told me how the stench permeates their houses, even with doors and windows shut. It has been simply unacceptable.

I met residents and visited the site, and on Friday chaired a public meeting to allow the community to put their concerns directly to the tip operator and the Environment Agency.

They told us that action had been taken to deal with the problem, and the Environment Agency committed to take further steps if there was a recurrence.

This will be welcome to those living nearby, but these problems highlighted the wider issue. We should no longer be burying rotting waste in the ground. West Sussex County Council has led the way with a new waste to energy plant at Warnham. I have long argued that we should be using our waste to generate energy from anything that we can’t recycle.

The policy adopted by Kate’s Cakes is the right one. We should send zero waste to landfill.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or e-mail me at nick@nickherbert.com