Coffey Chairs British-Irish Council Meeting On Recycling Challenges

therese-coffey-defra-eac-472x247Guernsey last week hosted the 14th British-Irish Council (BIC) Environment Ministerial meeting to discuss the common challenges faced by BIC Administrations when tackling the issues of food waste and the quality of quantity of recycling.

The meeting was attended by Ministers from all eight BIC Member Administrations: the UK and Irish Governments, the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Governments of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man*.

The meeting was chaired by, Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, of the UK Government who are the BIC lead for the Environmental work sector for the Council.

The topics for consideration at the meeting included the common challenges faced by BIC Administrations when tackling the issues of food waste and the quality of quantity of recycling.

“Co-operation through forums like the British Irish Council means we can develop solutions that are right for each area, working closely with the waste and recycling industry and partners, to accomplish our shared goal of making the best use of our resources.”

This included the sharing of preventative measures and methods of dealing with food waste and the commitment to working together in future to develop and share ideas and experiences of policy interventions and initiatives to support each other’s ambitions on food waste and recycling.

Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defra said: “Everyone has their part to play to protect our environment, which is why it is so important that we continue to work together with partners across the UK and our closest neighbours to tackle these issues.

“It is vital for our shared environment and our economies that we make the most of our resources, but we know there is more to do and the Council shows how we are working together to further increase recycling and reduce food waste.

“We highlighted some of the exciting work being carried out across the UK and Ireland, like the UK’s Courtauld 2025 commitment to reduce food waste by 20% by 2025, and the progress made dramatically increasing UK recycling rates from less than 13,000 tonnes in 2000 to over 330,000 tonnes in 2015.

“Co-operation through forums like the British Irish Council means we can develop solutions that are right for each area, working closely with the waste and recycling industry and partners, to accomplish our shared goal of making the best use of our resources.”

The Council’s objectives are wide-ranging. It was established to further promote positive, practical relationships among the people of the islands; and to provide a forum for consultation and co-operation.

The Council is unique in that it is the only international forum in which these 8 members participate. All members act in accordance with their own democratic procedures and remain accountable to their respective elected institutions.

Work is currently underway in the areas of:

  • misuse of substances and alcohol
  • environment
  • transport
  • social inclusion
  • indigenous, minority and lesser-used languages
  • demography
  • early years policy
  • digital inclusion
  • collaborative spatial planning
  • creative industries
  • energy
  • housing

Host, Deputy Barry Brehaut, President of Guernsey’s Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure said: “I am delighted that we have been able to host this Ministerial meeting here in Guernsey, focussing on environmental issues which have such resonance to us in Guernsey – addressing the problem of food waste and the quantity and quality of recycling.

“The British-Irish Council plays an important role in our relationship with the governments and administrations of the British Isles and Ireland, and as demonstrated again today, the Council provides excellent opportunities to share expertise, best practice, resources and ideas.”

*Ministers in attendance included; the host, Deputy Barry Brehaut, President of Guernsey’s Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, from the UK Government Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Seán Kyne, TD, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources from the Irish Government, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change, Environment and Land Reform from the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, Junior Ministers from Northern Ireland’s Executive Office Alastair Ross MLA and Megan Fearon MLA, Jersey’s Minister for the Department of the Environment, Deputy Stephen Luce and the Isle of Man’s Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, Geoffrey Boot MHK.


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