The following ten councils are the ones that topped the recycling league table in 2013/14. They had the highest scores for the “recycling, composting and reuse rate”:

  1. South Oxfordshire District Council (Conservative) 65.71 per cent
  2. Rochford District Council (Conservative) 65.47 per cent
  3. Vale of White Horse District Council (Conservative) 65.27 per cent
  4. Three Rivers District Council (Lib Dem) 62.44 per cent
  5. Stockport (No Overall Control) 61.11 per cent
  6. Calderdale  (No Overall Control) 60.09 per cent
  7. Rutland County Council (Conservative) 60.02 per cent
  8. Oxfordshire County Council (Conservative) 59.22 per cent
  9. Stratford-on-Avon District Council (Conservative) 59.06 per cent
  10. Epping Forest District Council  (Conservative) 58.58 per cent

So seven of the 10 are Conservatives. With nil for Labour. The figures are from DEFRA – see the LA collected and household waste datasheets 2014 then click on Table 4 for the results from “Notable Authorities”.

DEFRA like to highlight the positive. There is also a top ten of councils with the largest increase in recycling rates over the previous year. Again Conservative councils dominate – this time with eight of the top 10.

Well done to Ashford, Aylesbury Vale, East Cambridgeshire, North Hertfordshire, Trafford, Wycombe, Tandridge and South Northamptonshire. (With a grudging acknowledgement to Salford and Redcar and Cleveland – the only two Labour councils in the top ten.)

But what of the “notable authorities” that are notable by doing badly? DEFRA does not highlight them. For that we need to scroll down the full list in Table 3.

There is, of course, Brighton and Hove with a Green Party administration. They have lots of environmental rhetoric but a less impressive performance. The recycling rate is just 25.8 per cent. That is down a full percentage point on the previous year.

Labour have been leading the attack on the Green Party over that but there are a number of Labour councils doing even worse. Bassetlaw is on 21.41 per cent. Gravesham is on 24.5 per cent. Crawley on 24.87 per cent.

Why does Labour-run Slough only manage 29.45 per cent, while the neighbouring Conservative-run Windsor and Maidenhead achieves 44.09 per cent by providing incentives to recycle?

It is quite fair to consider the context for each council. The recycling rate for flats is much lower than for houses. That means, for instance, that inner London boroughs – both Conservative and Labour – will always struggle to do well by national comparison. Even so Labour-run Newham can not be exactly proud to have the lowest rate in the country at 17.65 per cent. Another Labour-run council, Lewisham, was only fractionally better at 17.66 per cent.

So far as the Lib Dems are concerned in the period these figures cover they were in charge of Portsmouth – which had a derisory recycling rate of 22.17 per cent.

The message from these stats is that it is the Conservatives in local government that have the best record on the environment.