Ministers pressed to take action on junk mail

Ministers faced pressure last night to take action to tackle the scale of junk mail being delivered to British householders each year .

Norman Baker, the chairman of the Parliamentary all-party environment group, said he was writing to Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, to demand tighter controls on direct mail, after Government figures showed that more than 21 billion pieces of promotional material were posted through letterboxes each year.

Mr Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, who unearthed the figures, said he would also write to the chief executive of Royal Mail, Adam Crozier, to ask what the postal giant could do to achieve a reduction in the quantity of mail.

The Government will report this month on whether it has reached the target to recycle 30 per cent of junk mail that ministers set in 2003.

Under voluntary agreements, direct mail companies accepted a target to recycle 30 per cent of unwanted post by the end of 2005 and 70 per cent by 2013. However, only 13 per cent of direct mail was recycled by the end of 2003, increasing to a quarter in 2004.

Concern about the 65 per cent increase in junk mail since 1997 has increased because of the case of a Royal Mail postman, Roger Annies, who faces a disciplinary hearing after advising customers on his round how to avoid receiving junk mail.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have called for reductions in junk mail, amid warnings that each household receives around 168 pieces each year.

Last night Mr Baker said attempts at voluntary agreements to reduce the environmental impact of junk mail had been a failure.

He said: "It is clear that voluntary efforts to reduce junk mail simply have not worked because it is not in the interests of Royal Mail to make it work.

"This requires government intervention as well as a more rigorous approach by Royal Mail. I shall be writing to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to ensure that more is done."

Mr Baker said he wanted to see a reduction in the quantity of direct mail as well as greater recycling rates. "This is about a reduction in junk mail, not just recycling. It is much better environmentally to reduce consumption rather than just recycle mail," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?