With the race for Number 10 heating up, letsrecycle.com takes a look at the parliamentary candidates for the waste and recycling industry to watch when Britain goes to the polls on May 7.
In the last entry in our election series, we look at what the United Kingdom Independence Party candidates would – or would not – do for the waste and recycling industry if they gain seats next Thursday.
Nigel Farage – South Thanet
Between popping down to the pub for a photo opportunity and appearing on Question Time, you’d be forgiven for thinking Nigel Farage has little time for waste and recycling.
But surprisingly the UKIP leader has railed against the state of collections in his constituency of South Thanet, where he says the council has failed residents on keeping the streets clean.
Waste collections in large parts of South Thanet – which covers the Kent towns of Ramsgate and Broadstairs – are carried out on a weekly basis, with a separate weekly collection of food waste – while recycling is collected separately with glass, cans and plastic and paper and card collected on alternate weeks.
On his website, Mr Farage claims: “Residents are unified in their condemnation of the district council’s inability to keep the streets clean, and sensibly and sensitively collect rubbish and recycling.
“New schemes follow old, with ever greater hurrah, but never achieving their promised potential. Street wardens fail to impose litter penalties and dog fouling penalties, and the street scene suffers accordingly.”
Despite his high profile, Mr Farage will have to work hard to win the seat here – with the latest polls suggesting the Tories are two points ahead.
Not only that, but the UKIP personality will also have to contend with comedian Al Murray on election day – whose Free the United Kingdom Party is standing for the hotly-contested seat.
Mr Murray’s pledge on the environment? To put Boris Johnson on an island, because “that’s what he wants.”
Andrew Charalambous – North East Cambridgeshire
UKIP may not be known for its green policies, but as environment spokesperson for the Party, Andrew Charalambous has been known to fly the flag for “Zero Waste Britain”.
However, with the exception of a campaign to save Estover Park, letsrecycle.com could not find any mention of the environment in the UKIP candidate’s plans for North East Cambridgeshire – let alone waste and recycling.
Mr Charalambous, who has been nicknamed ‘Dr Earth’ in the national media, defected to UKIP from the Conservative Party in 2011 after the coalition failed to deliver on an ‘in out’ EU referendum.
John Elworthy, editor of the Camb Times, says Mr Charalambous is “geographically challenged” given his outsider status in the constituency – but still remains a serious contender for the seat.
“He’s seen as an outsider moving in, but that’s the nature of politics. He’s not seen as particularly huggable but he’s a serious politician,” Mr Elworthy explains. “He’s popular with the Whitby part of our constituency, where UKIP kicked out most of our Conservative councillors in the 2013 local election.”
Still, Mr Charalambous will find it tough to win here, given North East Cambridgeshire has secured a comfortable Conservative majority at every election since 1987. He’ll be up against loyal Tory backbencher Stephen Barclay next week.
Andrea Allen – North Shropshire
Andrea Allen was somewhat lost for words when asked how she would improve recycling in her constituency during a radio interview on BBC Shropshire earlier this week.
But, the candidate was adamant that she would not back any EU-made targets if elected to office – despite the 50% by 2020 objective looming large on the horizon. “They [the targets] would be set for what’s achievable in different areas,” she explained.
Ms Allen was however more receptive to reducing the amount of packaging wasted in the constituency.
“We should have less packaging because a whole lot of recycling is packaging,” she added.
Ms Allen also said she would like to see her green bin collected every week. At present, recycling and refuse is collected on an alternating weekly basis in Shropshire.
The UKIP hopeful’s chances however look slim, given she is up against Tory election veteran Owen Paterson – who was previously featured in this series. But, if the political landscape has taught us anything in 2015, it’s that nothing will be certain come May 7.
We hope you enjoyed In the Spotlight. Know someone from the waste industry running in the elections? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.