The Scottish Government is under fire following cuts to community based waste prevention programmes.
The axed schemes included Communities Reducing Excess Waste (CREW), run by Friends of the Earth Scotland, which employed two staff and involved 55 volunteers in communities throughout Scotland, promoting ideas to minimise the amount of waste that has to be dealt with by recycling or landfill.
Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie slammed the cuts:
“Prematurely cutting the CREW project is very unsatisfactory on several counts: it undermines waste prevention, it discourages volunteers and organisations, and it deprives us of useful information about the strengths and weaknesses of this approach to preventing waste.
“Community development takes time, and this project was not allowed to develop its full potential. The lack of monitoring and evaluation is disappointing. There are always lessons to be learned – ignoring those lessons wastes taxpayers’ money. ”
Having raised the issue some weeks ago through an oral question, Cathy wrote to the Minister involved, Richard Lochhead.
“His reply arrived just before last week’s debate on Zero Waste. It didn’t provide adequate answers, so I returned to the issue in my speech.
“The Scottish Government has a duty to promote public engagement with action on Climate Change, but here they are promoting public disengagement. We need a more ambitious and more joined-up approach to climate change and environmental issues. It is simply not good enough that the climate change programme, including the commitment to public engagement, is not mainstreamed across all Scottish Government departments.
“The zero waste plan will be welcome, but Government rhetoric needs to be reflected in practice. If communities are to participate in waste management, they need the resources and tools that will allow them to do so. As ever, actions speak louder than words.”