CAROLINE Lucas has said Brighton and Hove should offer better, more sophisticated recycling options to its residents.

She called on the council to renegotiate a huge private finance deal which, she says, is why residents cannot recycle many plastic products commonly recycled by neighbouring districts.

The Green Party leader, who last week announced she would not seek re-election to the leadership for the coming two years, told The Argus she was proud to represent the city but better green credentials would make her prouder.

She said: “We need to sort the waste problems

“To be honest they are no better under the Labour council now, despite all of their protestations about getting the basics right.

“I think we need to look again at the contract we have with Veolia, because I know so many people who move to Brighton, who had recycling collection systems in other parts of the country where a far wider set of plastics has been recyclable.

“They come to Brighton expecting the same thing to be possible here.

“I think all of us are massively frustrated that we’ve not been able to do that.

“That will mean challenging that PFI contract but I think it’s something that we need to tackle head on as they have done in some other parts of the country.”

The latest nationwide figures, for year 2015/16, rank Brighton and Hove 337th out of 351 councils.

Last year’s recycling rate of 29 per cent was 4.5 percentage points up on the previous year and should see the city climb the rankings a little.

Greens on Brighton and Hove City Council have blamed the 25-year, £1 billionn PFI deal for limits on the city’s recycling. They say Veolia considers it uneconomic to recycle many single-use plastics such as yoghurt pots and microwave meal trays, which are recycled by other councils.

Ms Lucas said: “We need to work out how to make communal recycling work better too. In too many parts of the city we’ve still got the black boxes you put out and then the pigeons and the seagulls have an absolute field day.

“I’d like to see air pollution tackled. That’s one of the things I’ve been fighting Michael Gove on, so let’s hope he does now look at the real statistics and recognise our air pollution doesn’t keep within safe levels and we do have reason to access the fund for transition to more of our buses to cleaner fuels.”

The Environment Secretary has promised Ms Lucas he will look again at pollution in the city - and whether levels justify it being given a slice of an anti-pollution fund set aside to convert buses to greener fuels.

It comes after it emerged readings were being taken in green parks, not congested streets.