Last Monday in the House of Lords, Rosie Boycott stood up and expressed her disappointment at her amendment. Of course no doubt the disappointment covered several aspects. One of them would be that the Environment Bill has not already included this subject which she is introducing. However more fundamentally the fact that food manufacturers and retailers are generating tonnes of food waste each year. However the most fundamental disappointment is that people in the UK are going hungry at the same time as manufacturers and retailers are creating tons of wasted food. So what needs to happen is duplicate as far as I am concerned. We clearly need Amendment 149 to be accepted by the Government so that the Environment Bill is in better condition. However I would also suggest that people consider signing this Petition which calls on the Government to provide additional fund for agencies that are distributing surplus food. One of the reasons the petition calls for this in that term is because those were the words that the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee told the Government back in April, and sadly three weeks ago the Government rejected that suggestion. Anyway back to Baroness Boycott and her call last Monday, the text which can be found here includes.
My Lords, I really wish that I was not having to move this amendment. I speak as the chair of Feeding Britain, and all through this pandemic we have been giving out meals to an extraordinary amount of people—the numbers have doubled. We have got food from many different food redistribution companies, notably companies such as FareShare and individual supermarkets. Many supermarkets have stepped up to the challenge over the last 18 months and have given away a great deal more food, but there are still lapses in the system. This is, essentially, an extremely simple amendment that just says that big supermarkets must, by law, have a relationship with a food redistribution centre. This was introduced a few years back by Kerry McCarthy in the other place. Indeed, the now Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith, signed her 10-minute rule Bill supporting this idea, and such a proposal is now law in France.
The opening part of the amendment is as follows
149: insert the following new Clause—“Food waste(1) This section applies to a retailer who—(a) generates more than 10 tons of food waste per year, or (b) operates stores which with a floor area of more than 400 metres squared.(2) A retailer to whom this section applies must recycle wasted food products, having regard to the following steps listed in order of priority—(a) preventing food waste (for example, by not ordering more of a food product than they expect to sell);(b) using unsold food which is fit for human consumption (for example, through food donation or processing);(c) recovering unsold food which is fit for animal consumption into feedstock;(d) converting food waste into compost for agriculture or for energy recovery, including biogas.(3) A retailer to whom this section applies must make an agreement in relation to each store which it operates with at least one charitable organisation which distributes donated food, having taken reasonable steps to ascertain that the charitable organisation uses appropriate processes to distribute food through a clearly advertised address.
This amendment is clearly very important and so we do need to persuade all of our MPs to approve it. In the meantime you could sign this petition which needs some support and does only require an email response. Here is the text of that petition.
In April the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called on the Government to provide ongoing funding to redistribute surplus food from the farmgate and across the supply chain to food aid providers. In June the Government said there were no plans for further grants. This should change.
A Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair told the Committee “that the Government takes food waste very seriously” and that she expects “this to be an area in which we continue to work as Government”. We need the Government to provide public funding to enable the many agencies to carry out the work necessary to prevent food waste and improve food security. Sign this petition