Who’s the greenest party of them all? The UK’s greenest local councils revealed

Conservative councils come out on top – and bottom – when it comes to recycling

There’s good news and bad news for David Cameron’s Conservative party, as government data shows Tory-controlled local councils in England and Wales are by far the best and also by far the worst when it comes to waste recycling.

These are the findings of a national environmentally-conscious recycling and waste manage company which compared local recycling percentages against which councils are in control of local, metropolitan or district authorities.

The figures don’t make particularly good reading for Ed Miliband’s Labour party, which has set its stall out as a party committed to green policies yet finds its own councils toward the bottom of the list; while it’s also a mixed bag for the Liberal Democrats, the Big Green company has found.

“We surveyed 352 council areas, and found that the top twenty council areas were overwhelmingly Conservative controlled,” BigGreen.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall said.

“While at the other end of the table, the bottom twenty were more-or-less Labour controlled, but by far the worst performer in England is a Conservative council.

BigGreen.co.uk found that the top performing council in terms of waste recycling rates was Rochford District in Essex, already award winners for leading the way with a 66% recycling rate in 2013.

At the very bottom is Ashford in Kent, with a mere 11%. Both councils are controlled by the Conservatives.

The top five:

1 Rochford District Council CON

2 South Oxfordshire District Council CON

3 Vale of White Horse District Council CON

4 Surrey Heath Borough Council CON

5 Three Rivers District Council LD

And the bottom five:

348 Middlesbrough Borough Council LAB

349 Newham LB LAB

350 Lewisham LB LAB

351 Council of the Isles of Scilly IND (Local)

352 Ashford Borough Council CON

(See notes for a fuller list)

 

“The trend is very clear,” says BigGreen.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall, “It’s not necessarily the colour of the party that runs the council that defines who is the greenest. But the raw stats don’t lie, and the best council areas just happen to be those Tory heartlands which just happen to be less industrialised and more middle class.

“You have to go all the way down to 55th and Bradford Metropolitan Borough for the first authority that’s anywhere near city sized, and that Labour-controlled council performs far higher than the national average.”

BigGreen.co.uk says the figures probably say more about the recycling habits of people living in certain parts of the country than who they vote for in local elections.

One of the biggest surprises from the survey is how badly Brighton and Hove unitary council is faring. Since 2011, the council has been controlled by the Greens, although they do not have an overall majority. With a number of green policies in place in the city (with varying levels of public support), surely they’d be riding high on the list for waste recycling?

The fact is that Brighton is 327th, with an overall recycling rate of just 26.80%, compared with the national average of 43%.

“That’s a huge disappointment,” says Hall, “But equally disappointing are opposition parties using this failure to score points in the local press rather than cooperating on these important issues.

“We are – after all, and to steal a quote from the Prime Minister – all in this together.”

BigGreen.co.uk says that the coalition government came to office in 2010 saying it would be “the greenest government ever”. While this has clearly note been borne out in national policies on waste, recycling and renewable energies, local councils have made huge strides toward meeting recycling goals despite ever tighter council budgets.

“However, there are councils all over the UK who are being left behind not just through lack of funds, but through lack of firm plans for recycling,” says Hall. “And it’s right across the political spectrum where politicians need to buck up their ideas.”

“No single party comes out of this well,” says Mark Hall. “It’s time to stop pointing fingers and scoring political points, and get out there and get recycling.”

Top twenty performing councils

1 Rochford District Council CON

2 South Oxfordshire District Council CON

3 Vale of White Horse District Council CON

4 Surrey Heath Borough Council CON

5 Three Rivers District Council LD

6 Stockport MBC LD

7 Calderdale MBC NOC (Con)

8 Stratford-on-Avon District Council CON

9 West Oxfordshire District Council CON

10 Rutland County Council CON

11 Oxfordshire County Council NOC (Con)

12 Epping Forest Borough Council CON

13 Woking Borough Council CON

14 Cotswold District Council CON

15 North Somerset Council CON

16 Lichfield District Council CON

17 West Devon Borough Council CON

18 Braintree District Council CON

19 Harborough District Council CON

20 Mole Valley District Council NOC (LD)

 

Bottom twenty performing councils

333 Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council NOC (CON)

334 Liverpool City Council LAB

335 Gravesham Borough Council LAB

336 Newark and Sherwood District Council NOC (CON)

337 Hackney LB LAB

338 Gosport Borough Council CON

339 Southampton City Council LAB

340 Hastings Borough Council LAB

341 Wandsworth LB CON

342 Portsmouth City Council LD

343 Lambeth LB LAB

344 Hammersmith and Fulham LB LAB

345 Bassetlaw District Council LAB

346 Lewes District Council CON

347 Westminster City Council CON

348 Middlesbrough Borough Council LAB

349 Newham LB LAB

350 Lewisham LB LAB

351 Council of the Isles of Scilly IND (Local)

352 Ashford Borough Council CON

 

Note: Where there is No Overall Control (NOC), the largest party on the council is in brackets

 

DATA SOURCING:

http://biggreen.co.uk/local-council-recycling-results-2014/

Local council websites