On the 20th September 2023, the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced a major reassessment of the governments climate commitments. The reassessment has been quoted to be a major 'backtrack' and 'U-turn' on many of the governments most ambitious net zero policies. Industry players comment:

Tom Jones, CEO of the Aluminium Federation (ALFED) explained, “The announcement from the Prime Minister is a key one. There are potentially significant implications for the UK aluminium industry. Policy and strategy consistency is vital, so that the sector can plan and adapt accordingly. As such, we’ll keep a close eye on progress to ensure we’re acting with the best interests of our members."

“ALFED released an important net zero report in September last year that outlined existing and future requirements, based on the information available at the time. The revision to the government’s plans means we will need to review what it means for the industry and our own vision.”

ALFED have announced that they wish to seek clarity on the implications of PM’s government net zero announcement.

Right image: Tom Jones, CEO, ALFED.

Following the rumors that had emerged on the 19th September, ahead of the announcement, Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro – the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, commented:

“If the rumours are true, then we’re furious to learn about the government’s unapologetic failure to commit to its own net zero policies. Dropping, postponing and backtracking on legislation driving a more sustainable future isn’t in the best interests of the general public in any shape or form. These policies are vital to accelerating our national progress towards a greener, cleaner, more circular economy."

Left Image: Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro.

“If we really are serious about increasing recycling rates, reducing reliance on natural resources, embracing decarbonisation and creating a planet that our great grandchildren can inherit, then playing political football and passing the blame with yet more limp excuses shouldn’t even come into the equation. Indeed, recycling high volumes of packaging is the cornerstone of a circular economy – and it wouldn’t be unachievable if the government followed through on its own policy commitments! If we can’t get this right, how are we ever going to tackle the more challenging elements? Prime Minister, this simply isn’t good enough!”

In the statement, Alupro anticipated that alongside dropping hard-hitting energy efficiency targets for rented properties and watering down the phase-out of gas boilers, this will most likely include ruling out long overdue proposals to reform kerbside recycling.

Speaking on the PM's comments on waste and recycling, Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder, A Plastic Planet & PlasticFree commented:

“If the government has recognised the futility of trying to separate and recycle a large percentage of household waste; perhaps Sunak can go one step further and really question the efficacy of our UK recycling systems.

"Plastic of course makes up a huge percentage of our single use trash and UK recycling stats are shockingly low with the majority being exported or incinerated. It’s time for a wake up on waste.

"We use two planets worth of nature’s materials every year. We need to embrace reusable packaging at scale; in a format that is hyper convenient for shoppers and that re adds them generously.

"I'm not talking about more tokenistic refill systems. We need a radical overhaul of how we retail - with less emissions, less single use material and definitely less polluting toxic plastic in our soils and seas."

Rishi Sunak also announced a delay on banning sales of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035. Making top headlines in the UK, the reaction to the reassessment highlights the concerns many have with regards to the UK Government's commitments to Climate Change Goals.