Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Fifth Report


  I refer to the above, and write as the Chairman of Mercury Recycling Limited, the only company in the UK that wholly recycles Fluorescent Tubes and Sodium Lamps.

  I enclose a "Memorandum"[3] on this particular area of waste. Whilst of course declaring an interest as a commercial company Chairman, I am bound to say the whole subject of hazardous mercury and sodium has been neglected by central and local Government, as well as many public bodies. For example, the UK has, on the best estimate of both the Government and the Industry, some 80 million tubes a year. At the moment we recycle some 3 million. That is to say some 77 million goes to landfill, with all the potential hazards involved.

  The Government are clearly concerned, indeed Michael Meacher, the Minister for the Environment, officially opened the plant, and his Department have signed a contract with Biffa, a major waste company, that all Government lamps would be recycled through MRL. They estimated that 1 million a year are used. Last year we received 20,784 Government lamps from Biffa, and this year to date 11625. Even the Department of the Environment and the Environmental Agency lamps must be going to landfill.

  I should be happy to expand on the above, if the Sub-committee requires.

The Rt Hon The Lord Barnett PC

November 2000

3   Not printed. Back

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