Government proposals to revamp the constitution of its Advisory Committee on Packaging have understandably outraged the industry.

At a single stroke the packaging chain members, who represent those that actually pay the levy, have been halved to make way for more waste managers – people who make money out of those that pay the levy!

To add insult to injury, it is widely believed that one of the five seats taken up by waste management is going to be given to Wastepack, the company that failed so miserably to reach its targets for 2001.

I am not saying that the voice of waste management teams that distinguish themselves shouldn’t be heard.

Of course they should but let’s get the balance right before our environmental programme careers wildly off course. What chance does the patient British packaging industry have of securing a democratic voice when it is so glaringly obvious that the corridors of power display such woeful ignorance of the industry’s needs.

Four seats are grossly inadequate. Originally, eight seats were held by the industry – two by materials suppliers, two by converters, two by packer fillers and two by retailers… and even this was inadequate.

Why is it that Whitehall is unable to comprehend the differing needs of material suppliers and those who convert the materials into packaging?

Why is it that Whitehall is so unrealistic when it comes to costs?

The industry must oppose this outrageous move before our tongues are permanently stilled and our customers get the impression that we are happy with the way in which compliance schemes and environmental agencies operate.