The Real Deal
We’re a bit like the Real Madrid of Europe”, the new Welsh Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant, tells me, referencing his country’s (nearly) world-beating recycling performance. “Certainly, UK-wise we should be incredibly proud of what we do in Wales.” And the boast is well earned: to date, Wales is the only country in the UK that has surpassed the 50 per cent recycling mark, achieving 54.3 per cent recycling in 2013/14 and now pushing on towards 60, with figures indicating a rate of 58 per cent in the first quarter of this year. The achievements mean Wales sits fourth in the overall European table.
To extend the football analogy a bit further (bear with me), Carl Sargeant is like the new-in-post manager, having taken over the wide-ranging Natural Resources portfolio in September from caretaker manager John Griffiths, who in turn took the helm following the sacking of Alun Davies. Throughout the recent changes at the ministerial level, the country’s performance has remained impressive, and Sargeant has spent some of his early days meeting with his team – the 22 local authorities whose combined efforts to meet the challenging targets will determine the country’s overall performance.