Conservative election leaflet accused of being ‘misleading’ on food waste collections

A Conservative election leaflet is ‘misleading’ due to claims it makes about food waste collections, a Horsham mum has argued.

Lucy Holloway, along with two others, set up a petition last year calling on Horsham District Council (HDC) to introduce a weekly household food-waste recycling service.

Conservative Party leaflet

Conservative Party leaflet

In response the council said it and other authorities were working to put appropriate collection systems and disposal infrastructure in place which needs to happen by 2023 in order to meet Government target dates.

A pilot project looking to trial separate food waste collections is expected to take place in Mid Sussex this autumn.

However Lucy says she received a Conservative leaflet for the HDC elections next month which reads: “We have been in discussions with other West Sussex councils about a food waste trial to take place in autumn.”

She and others have suggested this could be read as though the trial was happening in the Horsham district.

Food waste collection bin used in another part of the country

Food waste collection bin used in another part of the country

In an open letter to HDC’s Conservative leader Ray Dawe, Lucy said: “This is clearly a completely misleading statement intended to give the impression that Conservative candidates will be taking imminent action to introduce a food waste collection scheme in Horsham, when they have no intention of doing so.”

She was critical of the council’s original response to the petition and her letter felt the authority ‘can and should aim to do more than achieve a few arbitrary set targets’.

In response Mr Dawe said: “I was in email correspondence with Ms Holloway over a period of two or so weeks about food waste collection and in a series of four email exchange with her made it clear that the situation is exactly as the Conservative manifesto says and that HDC has ‘been in discussions with other West Sussex councils about a food waste trial to take place in the autumn’.

“I emphasised that the purpose of such a trial would be to fully evaluate how the best result, including maximising public acceptance and use of a new service, is best achieved. I also said that it is likely that this trial will take place in an area of Mid Sussex district but that all participating West Sussex councils will share the outcome.

Lucy Holloway handing in her petition at the council offices earlier this year

Lucy Holloway handing in her petition at the council offices earlier this year

“There are other councils that have a higher recycling rate in the country than in our district. However, it is a fact that we have the highest recycling level of all councils in West Sussex. Last year Horsham district had the ninth biggest recycling increase nationwide and yes we want to do more.”

A HDC spokesman confirmed: “Mid-Sussex District Council is trialing food waste collections as part of the West Sussex Waste Partnership evaluation in early Autumn 2019. Horsham District Council, as a member of the West Sussex Waste Partnership, will review the outcome of this trial ahead of food waste collection becoming a government mandatory requirement by 2023.”

The West Sussex Waste Partnership website says: “The WSWP is looking to tackle food waste in the first instance through it’s Fight Against Food Waste prevention campaign. As 70 per cent of food waste is avoidable, our strategy is to try and prevent it from being wasted in the first place. Waste prevention is the preferred solution as it is more economical and sustainable.

“Alongside the food waste prevention campaign, the WSWP is looking to undertake trials of separate food waste collections to further reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill.”

At a West Sussex County Council meeting earlier this month David Barling (Con, Bramber Castle) referred to the food collection service being trialled in Horsham, but he told the County Times this was a ‘slip of the tongue’.