AN ACTION plan aimed at reducing food waste across Bromsgrove was rejected at last week’s full council meeting.
Councillor Kate Van Der Plank (Independent/Alvechurch) was shocked to see her motion, which asked Bromsgrove District Council to support and encourage local retailers to sign up to food re-distribution schemes, defeated.
The Independents, Lib Dems and Labour all voted in favour but members of the Conservative Party, who hold the majority, voted against the motion.
Coun Van Der Plank said: “Clearly the council has decided it would rather pay to dump food instead of re-distributing safe, surplus food to those in need.
“The proposals would have saved tax payers money in disposal costs, had a positive environmental impact and benefited people in our communities.
“Using surplus food to feed the hungry is not a solution to food poverty but whilst both food waste and food poverty co-exist, we should make sure it’s used.
“As a council I strongly believe this is our moral responsibility.”
Food waste costs the UK around £12billion, an average of £810 per family, per year.
Across Worcestershire approximately a third of black bin waste is wasted food.
Worcestershire County Council dispose of around 42,000 tonnes of food waste each year which equates to more than £4.5m in disposal costs.
According to data from Food Foundation, more than 8million people in the UK struggle to put food on the table, with more than half regularly going a whole day without eating.
Coun Annette English (Independent/Alvechurch South) said: “With Brexit and a possible general election on the way, it could be months or even years before government passes legislation on this so it doesn’t make sense to wait.
“There are people in our district going hungry now – they can’t wait.
“Plus in these economic times residents can’t afford to waste money and neither can the council”
Council leader Coun Karen May said Worcestershire County Council has been running a food waste programme for a number of years.
“We are also doing what we can with our Active Kitchen programme, which teaches young people to avoid wasting food,” she said.
“Currently our council doesn’t measure food waste but that’s not to say we can’t in the future when the Government’s new food waste programme comes into effect.”
The Government will launch a pilot scheme to reduce food waste in 2019/20.
The scheme will be supported by £15 million of additional funding which has been allocated to tackle food waste and will specifically address surplus food from retail and manufacturing.
Coun Van Der Plank added: “I’m not sure why the Conservatives voted against my motion, for me the reasons remain unclear and don’t stack up.
“The proposals were low cost, local and practical and not things central Government would legislate on.
“And if there were any genuine concerns my motion may clash with future Government plans, why didn’t they propose an amendment to address this?”