AT July’s full council meeting, the Bury Labour group proposed a notice of motion to look at the feasibility of introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) across Greater Manchester, working alongside the Greater Manchester Waste & Disposal Authority.

This scheme is where a deposit is paid on plastic bottles and on drinks cans when they are bought and then returned when the consumer takes the container back to the shop or places it in the "reverse vending machines". that would be widely available.

Worldwide, DRSs have increased recycling rates of plastic bottles to more than 90 per cent.

By 2020, plastic bottle production will be more than 500 billion units per annum.

This is as bigger a threat to the environment as climate change.

Our motion on a DRS was opposed by the Conservatives.

Now we have the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, announcing at the Conservative conference he wants to look at the possibility of introducing a DRS across England.

The Conservatives also announced £100 million for “Northern Roads”.

At the February meeting of the council, it was Bury Labour announcing it would borrow £10 million to invest in our road network (including £1.5 million for highway repairs).

This investment was opposed by Bury's Conservatives.

I have often said where Bury leads, others follow and I would like to now welcome the Damascene conversion of the Tories regarding a DRS, road funding and on student finance.

The Conservatives also announced £300 million for the rail network in the North and although any investment is welcome, I would like to point out that £300 million for the our local rail network pales in to insignificance when you put that alongside the planned £32 billion for Crossrail 2 in London (Crossrail 1 cost £16 billion).

What the Tory announcements do show us is that it is now Labour that is setting the political agenda both locally and nationally, with progressive policies that this country needs.

Maybe the Tories could follow Labour’s lead in them negotiating to stay in the single market, the customs union and bringing our railways back in to public ownership?

Cllr Alan Quinn

Cabinet Member for the Environment